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Team Nigeria seeks to restore pride in Brazzaville – African Games 2015

African and Commonwealth sprint champion Blessing Okagbare – Ighoteguonor to headline a 47-member Nigerian athletics team seeking to restore pride at the 11th African Games in Brazzaville, Congo after their medal-less performance at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

Team Nigeria failed to get any medal at Beijing 2015 - IAAF World Championships
Team Nigeria at Beijing 2015 / Photo credit: Getty Images for the IAAF

African and Commonwealth sprint champion Blessing Okagbare – Ighoteguonor will headline a 47-member Nigerian athletics team seeking to restore pride to the nation at the 11th African Games in Brazzaville, Congo after their woeful performance at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

The team comprising 29 women and 18 men arrived in  on Friday in time for the start of the Athletics programme which starts on Sunday September 13 and ends on Thursday September 17.

, who fell out with her country’s sports governing authorities after the Beijing debacle and her subsequent withdrawal from the team to the 2015 All-Africa Games, was included in the final team to start in Brazzaville 2015.

Ban or no ban?

After unconfirmed media reports and rumours circulated in Nigeria last week that the National Sports Commission have banned Okagbare – Ighoteguonor from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, her management came out to clarify the contentious issue.

A statement on Okagbare’s Facebook page reads:

“Blessing decided not to go to the ongoing All African Games in Congo Brazzaville to allow her injuries to completely heal, given the demands that taking part in the competitions in Brazzaville would have placed on her body after competing in several rounds of qualifications to get to the finals of any event she would have been entered into, and with her body still fragile from her injuries that would not be in her best interest to put herself through that, and she rightly communicated her concerns with the Officials of the AFN.”

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has now debunked those reports and it seemed Okagbare – Ighoteguonor also bowed down to pressure and eventually departed with the team to Brazzaville.

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Despite being listed to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, it’s not clear how many of the events she will actually take part in. However, an official of the AFN told AthleticsAfrica that Blessing is only going to take part in the 4x100m relay.

Meanwhile, African Triple jump champion , who had also wanted to withdraw from the 11th African Games, is presently on his way to join the team in Brazzaville after competing in the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday night.

Team Nigeria – Brazzaville 2015

1 Blessing Okagbare 100m
2 Deborah Odeyemi 100m
3 Cecilia Francis
4 Ngozi Onwumere 100m
5 Lawretta Ozoh
Blessing Okagbare
Ngozi Onwumere
Lawretta Ozoh
6 Patience Okon George 400m
7 Regina George
8 Adeloye Oluwatosin 400m
9 Ossai Rita Vivian
10 Funke Oladoye
11 Etim Margaret 400m
100m Hurdles
12 Lindsay Weyinmi Lindley
13 Amusan Oluwatobiloba
400m Hurdles
14 Amaka Ogoegbunam
15 Ajoke Odumosu
Long jump
16 Chinazom Amadi
17 Brume Ese
Triple jump
18 Ibrahim Blessing Ibukun
19 Hope Idhe
Shot put
20 Claire Uke
21 Precious Ogunleye
Claire Uke
Ogunleye Precious
22 Rebecca Famurewa
23 Nwanaga Kelechi
24 Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
Rebecca Famurewa
Ogunleye Precious
High jump
25 Doreen Amata
Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
26 Moe Sasegbon
Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa
27 Francis Ruth Oluwakemi
Moe Sasegbon
Race Walk
28 Oguh Faustina
29 Abike Egbeniyi
1 Seye Ogunlewe 100m
2 Ogho-Oghene Egwero 100m
3 Obinna Metu
4 Imhoaperamhe Nicholas 100m
5 Divine Oduduru
6 Odele Tega Peter
Odele Tega Peter
Obinna Metu
Divine Oduduru
7 Nathaniel Samson Oghenewegba 400m
8 Noah Akwu
9 Orukpe Erayokan 400m
10 Robert Simmons 400m
Odele Tega Peter
Henry Okorie
110m Hurdles
11 Tyrone Akins
12 Alex Al-Ameen
Long jump
13 Samson Idiata
14 Ezekiel Ewulo
Triple jump
15 Tosin Oke
16 Olumide Olamigoke
17 Peter Moreno
400m Hurdles
18 Henry Okorie

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