Nigeriaâ€™s chances of winningÂ medals at the 2010 World Indoors in Doha, Qatar running fromÂ March 12-14 has diminished as top Nigerian athletes like Blessing Okagbare, Damola Osayomi, Stanley Gbagbeke and others in the American university system have been ruled out.
These athletes will be representing their various schools in the National Collegiate Athletics Association(NCAA) indoor championships billed for March 12-13 at the University of Arkansas. Even at that, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is unsure of making a good representation at the Doha indoors, because the National Sports Commission is cool on providing cash backing for Nigeriaâ€™s participation.
â€œI wont be at the World Indoors. This is becauseÂ the NCAA championships is on that same weekend,â€ said Nigeriaâ€™s leading menâ€™s long jumper, Stanley Gbagbeke.
Okagbare who recorded the 5th best world performance on the boards this season also confirmed that she will not be available. The 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist proved that she will be a major contender for the world title at Doha when she clocked 7.24 secs over 60m dash and then she popped up a 6. 70m jump.
However, all that show is for her school the University of Texas. â€œI am not going to Doha,â€ Okagbare said in a chat.
Nigeria will now depend on athletes who are outside the NCAA circle to do the job in Doha and that is if the AFN can raise a team. The athletes that may be at the Indoors include world champion from the 2008 Valencia, Spain Indoor Championships, Olusoji Fasuba, Peter Emelizie, up and coming Ogho-oghene Egworo and Onyeabor Nworgwu.
Emelizie, Egworo and Zambiaâ€™s Gerald Phiri are joint leaders on the African men 60m tops list with 6.62 over respectively, while Fasuba has warmed up with 6.67 seconds this season.
Apart from Okagbare and Halimat Ismaila who did 7.38 in January, no other Nigerian female sprinter has dusted up on the boards with a reasonable return this season.