Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games double gold medallist, Blessing Okagbare, qualified for the semifinals of the women’s 100m on Sunday while, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Edose Ibadin and Nathaniel Samson, on Saturday crashed out in the first rounds of their events at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
Day two of the 16th edition of the competition saw four Nigerian athletes compete in track and field events at the London Olympic Stadium.
It was a debut to forget for the trio Enekwechi, Nathaniel and Ibadin, who were making their first appearances at the IAAF flagship event.
Enekwechi was the first to take to the field as he was drawn in Group B of the men’s shot put event. The 24-year-old Nigerian threw a mark of 19.27m and 19.70m respectively in his first two attempts.
However, his final attempt was just 0.02m better than his second attempt, which wasn’t enough for him to make it through to the final as he finished 10th in his group and 25th on the overall standings.
In the men’s 400m, Nigerian champion Nathaniel did not progress to the semifinals after finishing fifth with a time of 46.63secs in heat 6, which was won by Jamaica’s Nathon Allen in 44.91secs.
Ibadin became the first Nigerian to compete in the men’s 800m in the history of the World Championships. Ibadin, who holds a personal and season best of 1:45.87secs, did not make it past the opening rounds as he finished sixth in heat 1, running 1:46.51secs.
Running in heat 3 alongside Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Tori Bowie, six-time Nigerian champion Okagbare had a poor start, but counted on experience as she crossed the line in a time of 11.22secs behind Bowie, who won in a time of 11.05secs.
The rivals will meet again in the women’s 100m semifinals on Sunday. It is Okagbare’s third consecutive semifinal appearance at the World Championships.
In a stacked heat 3 of the semifinals, Okagbare and Bowie will battle Ivory Coast duo Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Murielle Ahoure, Great Britain’s Asha Philips and Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison.
Okagbare will run from lane five while Bowie runs from lane three. Ta Lou runs from lane six and Ahoure is competing from lane seven.
Meanwhile, other Nigerians will also be in action on Sunday. Yinka Ajayi, Margaret Bamgbose and Patience Okon-George will compete in the women’s 400m heats.
While Ajayi and Bamgbose will be making their debuts in the championships, Okon-George will strive to make it at least a back-to-back semifinal appearance in the event. She raced all the way to the semifinals two years ago at the Beijing 2015 worlds.