4X400m Mixed-Relay: Counting the Cost of Disqualification

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Nigeria is already feeling the effect of the disqualified athletes after the 4X400m mixed-relay team placed last in their heat.

The anchor leg runner, Chidi Okezie, and another member, Favour Ofili, are part of the ten athletes described by the Nigerian ministry of sports as mere alternate athletes.

Nigeria at World Relays

The Background To 4X400m mixed-relay Team.

10 Nigerian Track/Field athletes got disqualified after failing to comply with the Out of Competition Testing (OCT) requirement.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), a unit of World Athletics, released a statement on Wednesday, July 28.

Imaobong Uko On Track
Imaobong Uko at the 2021 National Sports Festival in Edo State. Photo by @oganlamedia

They announced that 18 athletes from the final entry for the Tokyo Olympic Games are not eligible to compete.

The disqualification was because minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules were not met by ‘Category A’ Federations.

The attempt to save face boomeranged on them based on the outcome of the 4X400m mixed-relay results.

Nigeria's 4X400m mixed-relay Team
Nigeria’s 4X400m Mixed-Relay Team at the Nigerian trials.

For context, Nigeria’s 4X400m Mixed-Relay ran the third-best time in the field for 2021.

The team ran the time of 3:14.09s last month at the Nigerian trials.

The under-strength team lowered the time to 13:10.60s

They are also the first African team to participate in the 4X400m mixed relay at the Olympics.

The handlers shuffled the team leaving national women 400m champion, patience George to run the anchor leg.

4X400m mixed relay
4X400m mixed-relay at the Tokyo Olympics

The decision backfired as only Nigeria fielded a lady in the anchor-leg lineup.

Team Nigeria’s healthy lead from the third leg vanished in the space of 30 to 50m of the last leg.

The team place last in their heat.

Speaking after the race, Okon-George revealed that the squad is consoled by the African Record they set while competing at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

She said, “The last race we ran back in June was 3:14.09 and the 3:13.60 we ran today is good. We are happy with the new African Record. It was not easy running with 43second runners on the anchor leg.

How We Got Here.

The athletics integrity unit didn’t wake up one day to ban Nigeria as the ousted technical director of the AFN in 2020 raised the alarm.

Sunday Adeleye revealed that Nigerian athletes are behind in testing ahead of major championships.

In an interview with Daily Post, Sunday said they last tested in 2019.

“The AFN is not the body that controls doping as the ministry has hijacked it which, is not supposed to be so. The sports ministry has not funded the Nigeria Anti-Doping Agency. Currently, we suspect a lot of athletes.

A reply by Ag. president honorable Olamide George revealed that they are sure of the testing for the foreign-based athletes.

“International elite athletes like Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, and a few athletes who have qualified for the Games are in the international testing pool and get tested regularly while competing in the international circuit. The National Anti-Doping Committee (NADC) has confirmed that Brume, Amusan, and the majority of the foreign-based athletes have been tested several times this year,” said George.

That has now turned out to be untrue.

The only way for things to change is to hold people accountable and punish them. There must be consequences. Sanctions.

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