It was a special night in the Bahamas and a hard fought race that saw Nigeria’s 4x400m Women take the Bronze Medal in a stunning time of 3:23.41, the fastest any Nigerian Quartet has run since the Falilat Ogunkoya-led team of the Sydney 2000 Olympics! Team USA more or less led from start to finish (3:21.73), but the Nigerian Quartet of Sade Abugan, Regina George, Omolara Omotosho and Patience Okon George, fought the Jamaicans (3:23.26) tooth and nail for the 2nd place, right till the very end!
“Look at the turbo being applied by Regina George round the bend – another storming leg for Nigeria!” the commentator excitedly blasts on the 2nd leg – we’re getting used to hearing that about this @DivaOnTheTrack, she did similar on the anchor legs at the 2013 World Championships and the Penn Relays in April. Her split on the 2nd leg was a mind boggling 49.4 seconds (the fastest of any athlete in the whole race)! Abugan led the team off with 52.30s, while Omotosho and P. George ran 50.9s & 50.81s splits respectively to bring the Bronze home for Team Nigeria!
The awesomeness of this performance from the whole TEAM cannot be overstated – it is the first RELAY medal for Team Nigeria since the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and it is already the 3rd fastest Season for Nigeria in our history of running the women’s 4×4. Only the Silver Medal winning team of Atlanta ’96 (African Record Holders at 3:21.04) and the Sydney 2000 team (3:22.99) have ever run faster. This bodes extremely well for Team Nigeria for the Commonwealth Games this year, where they can now consider themselves a GOLD medal contender against the likes of Jamaica!
We are likely witnessing a new dawn in Nigerian Athletics for the women’s 400 metres. At Making of Champions, we have long since considered Current 2-time 400m Champion Regina George as one to watch for the Rio 2016 Olympics. But now we must start looking at this whole team, not only as Relay medal contenders at the next Olympics, but also as possible semi-finalists and finalists in the individual 400 metres at Rio 2016! Bukola Abogunloko is the fifth member of this Relay team, who also picks up a Bronze medal after running the third leg in the heats!
Less than 2 hours later, Regina George and Patience Okon George (no relation) returned to the track, joining Dominique Duncan and Francesca Okwara for Nigeria’s first ever 4×200 metre run! Although they only finished in 7th, they set a new National Record of 1:33.71 by virtue of being the first ever quartet to contest the event for Nigeria! Something tells us that this is one NR which will not stand for very long – 2015 World Relay Championships: Team Nigeria is coming!