The World Athletics has included next May’s World Relays as one of the qualifying events for the Tokyo Olympics billed to hold next year.
This has boosted the chances for all Nigeria’s relay teams to qualify for the relay events of the Olympics, as the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has welcomed the move.
The Tokyo Games was initially scheduled to begin late July, 2020 in Japan but had to be postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
With the competitions shifted, World Athletics has accordingly adjusted its qualification system and extended the deadline for qualification to June 29,2021.
This means that the 2021 World Relays in Poland which should have served as qualifying event for the now postponed World Championships in athletics originally scheduled for Eugene,USA next year will now be used for the Olympics.
Nigeria is yet to qualify for any of the five relay events at the Tokyo games and now has a golden opportunity to achieve that in a single competition as all eight finalists in each of the relay events will automatically qualify for the Olympics outside the eight that made it from the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
AFN president, Olamide George says the technical arm of the federation has been notified and training programmes that will ensure the athletes peak for the Relays will be drawn up.
“This is a golden opportunity for us to get all five relay teams on the plane to Tokyo. We missed the opportunity in Doha in 2019 to get three of the teams to secure the qualifying spot. We will not miss the opportunity this time around,” he assured.