Nigeria’s 8th RELAY Medal – Men’s 4x100m Bronze @ Athens ’04 Olympics!

21 May

Nigeria’s 8th Relay Medal was won thanks to a brilliant run in the men’s 4×100 metres at the Athens Olympics, by the quartet of Olusoji Fasuba, Uchenna Emedolu, Aaron Egbele and Deji Aliu. This was an exciting race in which Nigeria was in contention until the very end. Interestingly, Maurice Greene, who ran the anchor leg for Team USA, is currently Team Nigeria’s relay coordinator for the World Relays this weekend, and the Commonwealth Games in July/August:

This race more or less marks the zenith of men’s elite sprinting in Nigeria. Fasuba, Emedolu and Aliu were all sub-10 second 100 metres sprinters, and sadly Nigeria has not produced a sprinter that has dipped under 10 seconds since these guys hung up their spikes! Fasuba, despite later setting the current 100 metre African Record of 9.85 seconds in 2006, retired relatively early (at the age of 27) to join the British Navy. Emedolu is now based in Enugu and has been training athletes there for a number of years now, while Deji Aliu recently started his own Track Club in Lagos, and spoke exclusively to Making of Champions about his experience so far with coaching his athletes!

Maurice Greene, Deji Aliu and Mark Lewis-Francis as they cross the finish line in the men's 4x100m at Athens '04

Maurice Greene, Deji Aliu and Mark Lewis-Francis as they cross the finish line in the men’s 4x100m at Athens ’04, for the Silver, Bronze & GOLD medals               for Teams USA, Nigeria & GB respectively!

The sub-plot to this story that few, if anybody has ever connected, is that a Nigerian who was not in this Bronze Medal winning quartet won the 100m Individual Silver Medal at the same Olympics, but did so competing for Portugal! His name is Francis Obikwelu. Given that Obikwelu defeated even Maurice Greene in the individual event at Athens ’04, IF he had still been competing for Nigeria by then, this 4x100m Bronze may very well have been a GOLD medal for Nigeria. Of course we shall never know, but it shows that even then Nigeria had the talent needed to become Olympic Champions in the 4x100m Relay! So why exactly did Obikwelu turn his back on Nigeria? Well, the question could also be framed as “why did Nigeria turn its back on him?” Obikwelu’s story features in the upcoming documentary Making of Champions: “The History”. We went all the way to Portugal to meet him, and what he told us was simply unbelievable – click here to find out more!

Francis Obikwelu (centre) wins Olympic 100m Silver for Portugal behind USA's Justin Gatlin and ahead of Maurice Greene. The favourite at the time Asafa Powell (with head dropped) finished in 5th!

Francis Obikwelu (centre) wins Olympic 100m Silver for Portugal behind USA’s Justin Gatlin and ahead of Maurice Greene (Athens ’04). The favourite at the time Asafa Powell (with head dropped) finished in 5th, and 2003 World Champion Kim Collins finished in 6th – It was a loaded race!

The World Relays is a new annual competition (the 1st edition being held in The Bahamas on May 24th/25th), 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 soon!

 

3 Responses to “Nigeria’s 8th RELAY Medal – Men’s 4x100m Bronze @ Athens ’04 Olympics!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. NAIJA’S MEN ARE NO LONGER THE FASTEST IN AFRICA!!! | Making of Champions - June 7, 2014

    […] Record of 9.85s, making him No. 1 on this list of Africa’s Top Sprinters. He’s a Bronze medallist in the 4x100m from the Athens 2004 Olympics, where along with Aaron Egbele, he combined with 2 others in the above list (Aliu and Emedolu) to […]

  2. NIGERIA’S MEN ARE NO LONGER THE FASTEST IN AFRICA!!! | Making of Champions - June 7, 2014

    […] Record of 9.85s, making him No. 1 on this list of Africa’s Top Sprinters. He’s a Bronze medallist in the 4x100m from the Athens 2004 Olympics, where along with Aaron Egbele, he combined with 2 others in the above list (Aliu and Emedolu) to […]

  3. EXCLUSIVE Interview (Part I) with MAURICE GREENE, former 100m world record holder & Team Nigeria’s new Relay Coordinator! | Making of Champions - June 23, 2014

    […] famous race for Nigeria at that Olympics was the 4×100 metre relay, and we distinctly remember Deji Aliu receiving the baton on the anchor leg for Nigeria at the same […]

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