By Bassey Ibiatisuho
World U20 champion, Imaobong Nse Uko will be making her debut in World Athletics Championships scheduled to start on July 15 in Eugene, Oregon, USA and will compete in the 400m event and the 4x400m mixed relay.
Imaobong was among the list of 22 athletes selected by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria to represent the country alongside other top athletes like long jumper Ese Brume, sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan, shot putter Chukwuemeka Enekwechi, sprinter Favour Ofili and reigning African Games champion, Raymond Ekevwo among others.
The Baylor University fresher who topped 400-meter time among all Nigerian runners and currently ranks 44th in the world, ran 51.24 seconds to seal her passage and become the first Nigerian quarter-miler to qualify for the World Championship this year.
Speaking after her qualification, the 18-year-old athlete from Akwa Ibom State said “I feel so great and I am grateful to God, being the first Nigerian quarter-miler to qualify for the World Championship this year. It feels so great that I didn’t even have to put in so much work to secure the qualification.
I don’t get to speak to my family in Nigeria all the time, but when I did qualify for the World Championships and spoke to them, they were so happy and proud of what I achieved.” Imaobong who was Nigeria’s youngest athlete to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was a product of Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival.