By Dare Esan In Beijing:
High jumper Doreen Amata and the women’s 4x100m relay team will begin Nigeria’s final push for a medal at the on-going 15th IAAF World Championshops here in Beijing.
Amata will be competing in the high jump final while the relay team will run in the first round (semi-final) and possibly the final later on Saturday if the team scales through the first hurdle.
Amata, the two-time All Africa Games queen of the vertical jump, will be competing in her second final in four years and has put all her hopes in God.
The very confident mother of one was impressive in the qualifying round, scaling all four heights before her in her first attempt, including the 1.92m height that ensured she would be among the 13 women that will file out for the three available places at the podium.
“I trust in God who has given me the talent to be what I am today. I’m ready for the battle and with my coach around passing instruction albeit through another (Yusuf Ali in the qualifying round), I am strongly motivated to go as high as they raise the bar,” the reugning Nigeria champion and record holder with 1.95m told completesportsnigeria.com.
Amata is confident she can go over 2m if that is what can guarantee her a medal but prays for a perfect condition Saturday evening in Beijing.
“This is a very tricky event where the best before the championship can have an off day. I want that perfect condition to get the job done,” she added.
The 1.89m tall athlete will make history as the first Nigerian high jumper to make it to the podium if she gets a medal here.
Also on Saturday, the 400m relay team will attempt to do the impossible – win a medal despite the presence of such heavyweight nations as USA, Jamaica, Great Britain, Bahamas and even Russia, Canada and Poland who all seem to be better organised than Nigeria.
There is still confusion over whether Blessing Okagbare will run or not with no oficial word from the federation on the issue.
Long jumper and two-time IAAF World Championshops finalist, Yusuf Ali, told completesportsnigeria.com the double Commonwealth sprint champion will be available.
“Blessing will run in the relays.The IAAF has cleared her to run after her 200m no-show,”Ali said on Thursday night.
Sources in the team’s Beijing Conference Hotel abode paint a different picture.
The Nigerian girls have been drawn in the first semi-final with host nation China, Italy, Great Britain, Jamaica,Russia, Canada and Poland and will run from lane two.