By EDIALE KINGSLEY
WHAT happens to the donations and the Union Bank funding of Regina George? Were some of the ponderings on the mind of Nigerians when they learnt that she won’t be going to the Olympics. Nigeria’s medals prospect in the track and field of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil diminished by one event last week following the disqualification of the country’s women’s 4x400m by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Last week events revealed that a member of the Nigerian 1600 relay quartet, Tosin Adeloye, tested positive to a banned substance at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Super Grand Prix/Warri Relays which took place in Warri, Delta State on July 24, 2015.
The quarter miler was a member of the Nigerian quartet that placed fourth at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing last August.
Adeloye ran the third leg in the semi-finals where the team clocked 3:23.27 seconds, the second fastest time in Nigeria’s all-time 1600 relay record. She also ran the third leg in the final.
Other members of that Nigerian team include; Regina George (first leg), Funke Oladoye (second leg) and Patience Okon-George who anchored the team to place fourth.
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Going by IAAF rule, all the results she achieved during the period after the test individually and jointly will be annulled. She has been banned for eight years.
While the trio of Okon-George, Margaret Bamgbose and Omolara Omotosho who have been picked by the AFN for the Games may still be in Rio after meeting the qualification standard for the open 400m.
However, Regina George who has managed to raise over $4,000 from the crowd pulling platform, Gofundme is out of the Games completely as she did not meet the standard for the 400m open and was only going to Rio as a member of the relay team. This disaster is also affecting Union Bank who had jump on board to sponsor the athlete whose persistent plea on twitter had attracted the bank.
Nigeria’s male 4x400m relay team made up of late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Obong, Jude Monye, Clement Chukwu and Fidelis Gadzama profited from a similar scenario at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia when Antonio Pettigrew, a member of the Team USA’s relay team tested positive for a banned substance. Nigeria had her silver win upgraded to gold 12 years after.
The IAAF has removed the times the Nigerian team ran in Beijing from the 2015 top list on its website.
Nigeria had qualified for the event based on the aggregate of the two fastest times achieved by the Okon-George’s led team in the qualification period from January last year to July this year.
Nigeria’s two fastest times (3:23.27 and 3:25.11) during the qualification period was achieved at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing which gave an average of 3:24.19 which made Nigeria the ninth fastest nation in the event going to Brazil.
Nigeria’s two other fast times of 3:29.94 achieved in Durban last month and the 3:31.27A achieved in Nairobi in April 2015 will not place among the best 16 nations eligible to compete in Rio.