World Athletics Championships: Nigeria’s 4x100m women relay team smash African record

Nigeria’s Joy Chinenye Udo-Gabriel (C) celebrates with teammate Nigeria’s Rosemary Chukwuma (R) after they came in third in a heat of the women’s 4x100m relay heats during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 22, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

Nigeria’s 4×100 meters women’s relay team has set a new African record at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the United States of America.

Running in lane 8, the quartet of Joy Udo-Gabriel, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha clocked 42.22 seconds as they finished 4th in the final to break the 30-year-old African record.

Despite their record-breaking effort, they missed out on the podium as they were beaten to bronze by Germany with the Germans parading Tatjana Pinto, Alexandra Burghardt, Gina Iückenkemper and Rebekka Haase clocking a season’s best of 42.03 seconds.

Host nation, USA parading Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner, Jenna Prandini, and Twanisha Terry blazed to a world lead of 41.14 seconds to beat favourites Jamaica to the gold medal.

The Jamaicans featuring Kemba Nelson, double-double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, 5-time world100 meters champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and the fastest woman alive over 200 meters, Shericka Jackson settled for silver after clocking a season’s best of 41.18 seconds.

Spain set a new national record of 42.58 seconds to place 5th while Great Britain and Northern Ireland anchored by 200m bronze medallist Dina Asher-Smith clocked 42.75 seconds to finish in the 6th position. Switzerland (42.81 seconds) and Italy (42.92) placed 7th and 8th respectively.

The previous African record of 42.39 seconds was also set by Nigeria in the heats of the women’s 4×100 meters at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. The team made up of Beatrice Utondu, Faith Idehen, Christy Opara-Thompson, and Mary Onyali would go on to win a bronze medal in the final.

Nigeria is yet to win a medal in the women’s 4×100 meters at the world championships with fourth place being the country’s best placement in the event to date.

The team made up of Beatrice Utondu, Rufina Ubah, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, and Christy Opara-Thompson placed fourth at the 1991 edition in Tokyo, Japan while Endurance Ojokolo, Mercy Nku, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi and Chioma Ajunwa also matched the placement at the 2001 edition in Edmonton, Canada.

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