Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team crashed out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after they placed last in the Heat 1 of the event on Friday.
But the Nigerian team, which had Emmanuel Ojeli, Imaobong Uko, Samson Nathaniel and Patience Okon-George, however had something to cheer as they broke the African record after running a time of 3:13.60.
The team missed the services of Chidi Okezie and Favour Ofili after both athletes were disqualified alongside eight others by the Athletics Integrity Unit for failing to meet anti-doping requirements.
Ojeli was first at the end of the first leg, handing over to Uko, who could not sustain the tempo.
Nigeria’s strategy to use Nathaniel as the only male athlete in the third leg looked to have paid off as he outran the women, opening a wide gap.
The gap was however quickly closed as all the men on the anchor leg overtook Okon-George, leaving her to place last.
The USA team, which initially placed first, and Dominican Republic had their teams disqualified.
Speaking after the race, Okon-George revealed that the squad was consoled by the African record despite not making the final
“The last race we ran back in June was 3:14.09 and the 3:13.60 we ran today is good. We are happy with the new African record. It was not easy running with 43secs runners on the anchor leg. Now that we haven’t made it to the final, I’m just going to be focused and get ready for the 400m. I think I’m good to go,” Okon-George said.
Ojeli also said becoming the first African team to compete at the Olympics in the mixed 4x400m was enough consolation.
“We have been trying so hard to qualify in the 4x400m men and women, so when we heard that the mixed relays was going to hold, we just needed to put ourselves together to qualify for the event.
“We are the first African team to qualify for the event at the Olympics and ran an african record as well,” Ojeli said.