By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, Nigeria
Nigeria and South Africa that both finished second and third place on the medals table at the just concluded African Games at Rabat, Morocco have released their team lists for 2019 World Athletics Championship which will take place in Doha.
Twenty five (25) athletes have been listed to represent Nigeria in the provisional entry list released by the IAAF, for the 2019 World Championships taking place in Doha.
Blessing Okagbare with a 100m Season’s Best (SB) of 11.04s and 200m SB of 22.05s will be Nigeria’s sole representative in both events, and she would also lead the charge for the country in the women’s 4x100m.
In the 100m Hurdles, Tobi Amusan will be a strong medal hopeful for Nigeria, and her form this season has shown that she’s up there amongst the best in the world. With a Personal Best of 12.49s and 12.51s which she ran eighteen days ago in Germany, that’s surely a medal contention form.
Divine Oduduru will hope to rekindle his NCAA form earlier in the season, which saw come close to the 100m African Record, winning the NCAA title with a PB of 9.86s. Oduduru will also compete in the 200m, and holds the Nigerian Record (NR) of 19.73s.
Coming on the back of winning the 100m African Games title, becoming the 10th Nigerian to run a sub 10s with a PB of 9.96s, Raymond Ekevwo will relish the opportunity of competing in his first World Championships.
If she jumps close to her Long Jump PB of 7.05m which she jumped in July, Ese Brume will be on the podium in Doha. Brume has had a good season which saw her win the African Games title in August.
Another major medal contender for Nigeria is Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, who this year threw his second National Record in the Shot Put, setting a record of 21.80m. In less than two years, Enekwechi has won two continental titles and won Silver at the Commonwealth Games.
There are new entrants in the team. Chioma Onyekwere and Sade Olatoye will be competing in the women’s Discus and Shot Put events respectively.
For the first time in a long while, Nigeria will have three teams competing in the Relays: men’s 4x100m, women’s 4x100m and 4x400m.
South Africa on the other hand also named a 31-man team to the Doha 2019 World Championships to be spearheaded by defending World Long Jump Champion, Luvo Manyonga and South Africa 100m Record holder, Akani Simbine.
Other athletes to watch out for on this team are Clarence Munyai (200m), Ruswahl Samaai (Long Jump) and Antonio Alkana (110m Hurdles).
The team was also granted two IAAF invitations, awarded to Rikenette Stamp (100m Hurdles) and Sunette Viljoen (Javelin).
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