Glory Nathaniel produced the best performance by Team Nigeria athletes on Day 4 of the World Championships, when she clocked a lifetime best of 55.30s to place 3rd in Heat 5 of the women’s 400m Hurdles, which automatically qualified her for the semifinals.
The National 400m Bronze medallist went all out in the first 300m, giving no chances to any disappointment, and though she tired out in the last 50m, Nathaniel was still able to maintain her rhythm to finish in the automatic qualifying spot.
Lea Sprunger from Switzerland produced a late surge to win the race in 55.14s, with Jamaica’s Rhonda Whyte coming in 2nd in 55.18s.
Nathaniel’s form this season has been a progressive and brilliant one, with her first season’s medal being at the National University Games (NUGA), where she won the Gold medal in 58.87s.
Thereafter, she won a Silver medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games, Baku, clocking a then lifetime best of 55.90s, which stamped her name to participate in London.
Though much may not be expected from the talented athlete to produce another breathtaking performance in the semis, but recording a new lifetime best or getting close to it, will be classified as a successful world championship debut for the 21-year old.
Meanwhile, it was a sour tale for the country’s representatives in the 400m, as all three quatermiler’s couldn’t replicate their form in the Heat stages, which saw them knocked out in their various semifinals.
First was National Champion, Patience Okon-George who clocked a below par performance time of 52.60s to finish 7th in her race, while the duo of Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose raced to 52.10s and 52.23s respectively.
Their times are surprising considering these are athletes that have run below 52s several times this year, and have Season’s Best (SB) below 51.60s.
Another athlete that was shown the exit in his event is African Triple Jump Champion, Tosin Oke whose only valid leap of 16.14m placed him 12th in his qualifying group, which wasn’t enough for a final berth.
As it stands, no Nigerian athlete has made it to the final of any event at the Championships, which weighs in the thoughts on why these athletes form and performances can’t be made consistent by the coaching crew through the qualifying rounds of the competition.
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