Three U.S.-based junior athletes have been listed in Team Nigeria’s squad to the World Athletics U-20 Championships holding in Nairobi, Kenya from August 17 to 22.
In the 27-man list released by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) yesterday are U.S.-based trio of Favour Ofili (Louisiana), Best Erhire (Tennessee), and Udodi Onwuzurike (Michigan).
Ofili is expected to compete in four events, which include women’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and 4x400m relay. Other athletes in 100m and 4x100m relay include Praise Ofoku, Olayinka Sholademi Olajide, Chukwuma Obi, Tima Godbless, and Anita Taviore.
Nigeria’s flag bearers in the men’s 100m and 4x100m relay are Favour Oghenetejiri Ashe, Godson Brume, Fakorede Adekalu, Mabilo Nicholas, Udodi Onwuzurike and Kingsley Unorji.
Tina Godbless and Ofili will compete in the women’s 200m, while Adekalu Nicholas Fakorede and Udodi Onwuzurike are the athletes for the 200m.
One of Nigeria’s brightest stars in the junior category, Imaobong Nse Uko, is leading the women’s 400m and 4x400m relay. Others in the relay team are Opeyemi Oke, Ada Bright, Osaretin Joy, and Ofili.
The duo of Bamidele Ajayi and Johnson Chidera will compete in the men’s 400m event.
Ekporere Prosper Oghenemine is Nigeria’s sole representative in the men’s 110m hurdles, just as Sarah Ochigbo will run in the women’s 400m hurdles.
Others on the list are Nathaniel Ezekiel (men’s 400m hurdles), Ruth Agadama (women’s long jump), Esther Osisike (women’s discus), Omamuyovwi Best Erhire and Aya David (men’s high jump) and Nnamdi Chinecherem (men’s javelin).
Bamidele Ajayi, Salubi Emmanuel, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke, Ella Onojuvwevwo, and Chidera Johnson are listed for the 4x400m mixed relay event.
Team Nigeria’s athletes have been in camp in Asaba, Delta State since July 23, where they took part in an open trial on July 29. The final squad was selected on Tuesday.
Host country, Kenya, will field 44 athletes for the competition, just as India has named 28 athletes. Botswana is sending an 18-member squad for the junior championship.
Over 1,300 athletes from 128 countries are expected to compete in the Championships, where top Nigerian athletes like Deji Aliu were discovered.
Aliu, who rose to become one of Nigeria’s greatest athletes, started his junior career at the World Junior Championships in South Korea in 1992, where he picked a bronze medal in the 4×100m. In 1994, Deji Aliu competed in his second World Junior Championships in Portugal, where he won gold in the 100m and silver in the 200m.
The AFN said yesterday it is sure of achieving good results in Nairobi.