The RELAYS – Nigeria’s ‘Perfect 10’ Global Relay Medals!

13 May

In anticipation of the 1st ever World Relay competition this month (May 24th/25th), starting tomorrow we’ll be reminiscing on each of the TEN Relay medals that Team Nigeria has won at the Olympics and World Championships. Every day until the start of the World Relays, we’ll take you down memory lane, and post the link to one of these medal-winning races for Team Naija!

Nigeria has a rich history in the 4×100 metre and 4×400 metre Relays, having won medals at the highest level in both the men’s and women’s races at each distance. Nigeria has won eight medals in World Championship history, with TWO of them being in the Relays, and incredibly, out of thirteen medals that Nigeria has won in Athletics in Olympic history, a whopping EIGHT of them have been in the Relays. Indeed, Nigeria has at least one Relay medal at every Olympic Games where the team has won medals in Track & Field. This is why Team Nigeria must be looking at the new annual World Relays as a competition in which to target medals every year. Excitingly, the scarcely run 4×200 metres will also be contested at the event, and this should provide an additional incentive to revive Athletics, and Sprinting in particular, in Nigeria!

Nigeria’s success in the Relays was built on the bedrock of a great sprinting culture and tradition, but in recent years this tradition has been in danger of extinction. Nigeria has not won an Olympic Relay medal since Beijing ’08, and you’d have to go all the way back to 1997 for the nation’s last World Championship Relay medal. The secret to winning Relay medals is having strength in depth – in the 100 metres, 3 or 4 men who can run sub-10 seconds, 3 or 4 women who can run sub-11 seconds. In the 400 metres, 3 or 4 men who can run 45 seconds and 3 or 4 women who can run 50 seconds. From the early nineties to the early 2000’s, Nigeria had a depth of athletes in each event of these events, dropping these times and winning Relay medals, but not anymore. Over the next 10 days we’ll bring you the videos of the medal-winning races and the stories behind them!

The World Relays is a new annual competition (being held in The Bahamas in 2014 & 2015), where the world’s best Track & Field nations will compete over 10 different events – 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m & 4x1500m (both men and  women). There is a total prize fund of $1.4  million up for grabs, and for the 4x100m & 4x400m, the 2014 World Relays will serve as the qualifiers for the 2015 World Championships (as will the 2015 World Relays for the 2016 Olympics)For viewers in Nigeria and Africa, the World Relays will show LIVE on SuperSports on May 24th/25th – more details on that soon!

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