By Dare Esan:
For the second time in the life of the Solomon Ogba administration of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Nigeria have failed to win a medal at the biennial IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics.
At the conclusion of the 16th edition of the championships Sunday at the Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Stadium in Bydgoszcz, Poland Nigeria failed to make a podium appearance.
Nigeria’s hope for a medal appearance was placed on the shoulder of sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan, the University of Texas in El Paso, USA undergraduate student following her pre-championships rating as the fastest hurdler coming to the championships and one of only two athletes to have broken 13 seconds before the championships.
Amusan’s reputation was however not strong enough to scare her adversaries, as the Nigerian was out-hurdled out of reckoning, finishing fifth in a high quality race won by Belarus’ Elvira Herman in a new 12.85 seconds Championship record.
Herman had shown signs of what to come in the semis when she ran 12.97 seconds,a personal best and the fastest qualifying time.
Jamaica’s Rushelle Burton ran a national junior record of 12.87 seconds,her first ever run inside 13 seconds to win the silver while the bronze medal went to
USA’s Tia Jones,the authentic 16 year-old who ran 12.89 seconds.
Amusan has thus failed to become the second Nigerian woman to win a 100m hurdles medal at the championships after Glory Alozie’s silver winning 13.30 seconds run in Sydney 16 years ago.
This will be the fourth time since the championships began in 1986 in Athens that Nigeria will be returning home empty-handed.The first was in Chile in 2000 where Nigeria did not make an appearance after bungling the visa processing.Four years later in Grosseto,Italy it was the same story.Eight years later in Barcelona it was a medalless outing and now in 2016 the same story has been repeated.
At the inaugural edition in 1986 Nigeria won a total of four medals with Tina Iheagwan and Falilat Ogunkoya winning the 100m and 200m gold respectively.
Nigeria has won a total of 30 medals at the championships with as many as 10 gold medals.
Sprinter Francis Obikwelu remains Nigeria’s top performer at the championships following his sprint double win 16 years ago in Sydney while Nigeria’s best perfomance was recorded in 1990 with the contingent returning home with six medals made up of two gold,two silver and two bronze medals.