By Dare Esan:
Sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan will lead a team of 12 athletes to compete at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, from August 4 to August 13.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who will be making her fourth competitive appearance at the IAAF flagship event, will compete in the 100m and long jump events. The six-time Nigeria 100m champion won a long jump silver and a 200m bronze in her second appearance at the championships four years ago in Moscow, Russia.
Amusan, the second fastest Nigerian nay African woman (12.57 seconds) in the sprint hurdles after African record holder Glory Alozie (12.44 seconds), will be making her debut in the championships and will compete in the 100m hurdles.
Others listed for the championships are reigning Commonwealth Games long jump queen Ese Brume who will be hoping to leap at least two steps higher than her fifth place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics, another debutante Glory Onome Nathaniel in the 400m hurdles as well as the quartermile trio of Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose.
Okon-George, semi-finalist in the event two years ago in Beijing, China at the 15th edition of the championships, will also lead a 4x400m relay quartet comprising of herself, Ajayi, Bamgbose, Emerald Egwin and Abike Egbeniyi.
For the men, home-boy Samson Nathaniel will be making his debut at the championships and will compete in the 400m while the USA-based duo of Chukwuebuka Enekwachi and Edose Ibadin will also be making their first appearance at the championships.
Enekwachi will be competing in the Shot Put event following his impresive 21.07m throw almost a forthnight ago in Cork,Republic of Ireland while Edose will compete in the 800m and become in the process the first Nigerian man to compete in the two full laps race in the history of the championships.
Edose holds a personal season's best of 1:45.87 which is a Nigerian record and makes him only the second Nigerian to run inside 1:46 seconds in the event.
Nigeria have won a total of eight medals in the champioships made up of four silver medals (Innocent Egbunike in the 400m in 1987;the 4x100m men in 1997,Glory Alozie in the 100m hurdles in 1999 and Blessing Okagbare in the long jump in 2013) and four bronze medals (Ajayi Agbebaku in the triple jump in 1983; the men's 4x400m team in 1995, Francis Obikwelu in the 200m in 1999 and Blessing Okagbare in the 200m in 2013).
THE FULL LIST
DOB:27 FEB 1993
Edose will be making his first competitive bow for Nigeria.He will also be making his first appearance in the championships.
DOB:28 JAN 1993
Chukwuebuka will be making his first competitive bow for Nigeria.He will also be making his first appearance in the championships.
SAMSON OGHENEWEGBA NATHANIEL
DOB:29 AUG 1997
Samson will be making his first trip to the IAAF flagship event after appearing at the IAAF Youth Championships in Donestk,Ukraine in 2013 and the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon,USA in 2014.
DOB:09 OCT 1988
Personal Best:10.79 (100m),7.00m (Long Jump)
Season's Best:10.99 (100m),6.77m (Long Jump)
Blessing will be making her fourth competitive appearance at the championships after injury forced her out of the 12th edition in Berlin,Germany in 2009.She won a silver medal in the long jump in 2013 and a bronze medal in the 200m in 2013.She ran in the 100m finals in 2011 in Daegu (5th),2013 in Moscow (7th) and 2015 in Beijing (8th).
DOB:23 APR 1997
Rio Olympics semi-finalist Tobi will be making her debut in London at the IAAF senior worlds.She was a finalist in the event at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz,Poland where she came fifth.
PATIENCE OKON GEORGE
DOB:25 NOV 1991
Reigning Nigeria 400m queen Patience will be making her second competitve appearance in the 400m at the championships.She was a semi-finalist two years ago in Beijing,China.
DOB:11 AUG 1997
Ajayi will be making her first international bow for Nigeria after she failed to make it to the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz,Poland.
DOB:19 OCT 1993
Margaret will be making her 400m debut at the Championship.She was a semi-finalist in the full lap race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
DOB:27 NOV 1995
USA-based Emerald will be making her first competitive bow for Nigeria in London at the IAAF Worlds.
ABIKE FUNMILOLA EGBENIYI
DOB:23 OCT 1994
Abike ran 2:02.34,the second fastest 800m race in history this year and will be making her debut at the championships as a member of the 4x400m relay team.
DOB:20 JAN 1996
Hugely talented Ese will be making her IAAF World Championships debut in London.She placed fifth (6.81m) in the event last year at the Rio Olympics and is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion.
GLORY ONOME NATHANIEL
DOB:23 JAN 1996
Former Nigeria youth international Glory will be making her IAAF World Championships debut in London.