By Dare Esan: For the fifth consecutive edition Team Nigeria failed to mount the podium after curtains were drawn on the 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships Sunday evening at the Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan gave Nigeria a ray of hope Saturday evening when she qualified for the 60m hurdles final (7.91 seconds) albeit as one of the two fastest losers but in the final, she could only place seventh (8.05) as USA’s Kendra Harrisson ran away with her first global title in a new 7.70 seconds personal best and championship record.
Signs that it would be another fruitless trip were noticed on Thursday, the first day of the championships, when quartermiler Patience Okon-George failed to show up for her first round heat.
She was followed by another quartermiler Chidi Okezie who ran a rather disappointing 48.53 to place 17th out of 18 participants in the semi-final.
Shot putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi did not fair any better as he could only hurl 19.78m to place 14th out of the 16 contestants for three podium appearances.
The women’s 4x400m relay team did not show up at the championships, leaving the duo of ‘Jesus’ hurdler Lindley Lindsay and Amusan to salvage Nigeria.
Lindley fell at the semi-final stage (8.08) while Amusan ran all the way to the final to become the second Nigerian man or woman to run in the final of the 60m hurdles event at the championships.
Glory Alozie won a silver medal at the championships in 1999 in Maebashi, Japan.
Nigeria last won an IAAF World Indoor Championships medal in 2008 in Valencia, Spain courtsey of Olusoji Fasuba’s incredible 6.51 seconds 60m run which fetched an historic gold medal-the first for Africa in the event.
Fasuba’s gold was also Nigeria’s second in the championships following policeman Sunday Bada’s golden run in the 400m in Paris, France in 1997.