Team Nigeria seeks to restore pride in Brazzaville – African Games 2015

By (Follow on Twitter @ Yommie_ATAF)

African and Commonwealth sprint champion Blessing Okagbare – Ighoteguonor will headline a 47-member Nigerian athletics team seeking to restore pride to the nation at the 11th African Games in Brazzaville, Congo after their woeful performance at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

The team comprising 29 women and 18 men arrived in  on Friday in time for the start of the Athletics programme which starts on Sunday September 13 and ends on Thursday September 17.

, who fell out with her country’s sports governing authorities after the Beijing debacle and her subsequent withdrawal from the team to the 2015 All-Africa Games, was included in the final team to start in Brazzaville 2015.

Ban or no ban?

After unconfirmed media reports and rumours circulated in Nigeria last week that the National Sports Commission have banned Okagbare – Ighoteguonor from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, her management came out to clarify the contentious issue.

A statement on Okagbare’s Facebook page reads:

“Blessing decided not to go to the ongoing All African Games in Congo Brazzaville to allow her injuries to completely heal, given the demands that taking part in the competitions in Brazzaville would have placed on her body after competing in several rounds of qualifications to get to the finals of any event she would have been entered into, and with her body still fragile from her injuries that would not be in her best interest to put herself through that, and she rightly communicated her concerns with the Officials of the AFN.”

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has now debunked those reports and it seemed Okagbare – Ighoteguonor also bowed down to pressure and eventually departed with the team to Brazzaville.

Despite being listed to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, it’s not clear how many of the events she will actually take part in. However, an official of the AFN told AthleticsAfrica that Blessing is only going to take part in the 4x100m relay.

Meanwhile, African Triple jump champion , who had also wanted to withdraw from the 11th African Games, is presently on his way to join the team in Brazzaville after competing in the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday night.

Team Nigeria – Brazzaville 2015

1Blessing Okagbare100m
2Deborah Odeyemi100m
3Cecilia Francis
4Ngozi Onwumere100m
5Lawretta Ozoh
Blessing Okagbare
Ngozi Onwumere
Lawretta Ozoh
6Patience Okon George400m
7Regina George
8Adeloye Oluwatosin400m
9Ossai Rita Vivian
10Funke Oladoye
11Etim Margaret400m
100m Hurdles
12Lindsay Weyinmi Lindley
13Amusan Oluwatobiloba
400m Hurdles
14Amaka Ogoegbunam
15Ajoke Odumosu
Long jump
16Chinazom Amadi
17Brume Ese
Triple jump
18Ibrahim Blessing Ibukun
19Hope Idhe
Shot put
20Claire Uke
21Precious Ogunleye
Claire Uke
Ogunleye Precious
22Rebecca Famurewa
23Nwanaga Kelechi
24Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
Rebecca Famurewa
Ogunleye Precious
High jump
25Doreen Amata
Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
26Moe Sasegbon
Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
27Francis Ruth Oluwakemi
Moe Sasegbon
Race Walk
28Oguh Faustina
29Abike Egbeniyi
1Seye Ogunlewe100m
2Ogho-Oghene Egwero100m
3Obinna Metu
4Imhoaperamhe Nicholas100m
5Divine Oduduru
6Odele Tega Peter
Odele Tega Peter
Obinna Metu
Divine Oduduru
7Nathaniel Samson Oghenewegba400m
8Noah Akwu
9Orukpe Erayokan400m
10Robert Simmons400m
Odele Tega Peter
Henry Okorie
110m Hurdles
11Tyrone Akins
12Alex Al-Ameen
Long jump
13Samson Idiata
14Ezekiel Ewulo
Triple jump
15Tosin Oke
16Olumide Olamigoke
17Peter Moreno
400m Hurdles
18Henry Okorie