The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday confirmed that Nigeria’s 4x400m men’s relay team will not compete at the London Olympics.
This is contrary to the statement by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Monday which listed the team among the country’s contingent to the Games.
The Nigerian 4x400m relay team is made up of Saul Weigopwa, Abiola Onokoya, Isah Salihu, Tobi Ogunmola, Segun Ogunkole and Godday James.
The team ran 3:02.39 to win the gold medal at the just concluded 18th African Athletics Championships on Sunday in Porto Novo, and they were wrongly informed that the team made the cut for the Olympics.
However, the IAAF on Tuesday released the list of 16 teams that have qualified to participate in the event in London and Nigeria was not included in the list.
According to the IAAF report, “the qualification period for the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the Games of the XXX Olympiad, London 2012 ended on Monday 2 July. The IAAF is pleased to confirm the following 16 teams, per each of the four relays, which have qualified to compete, are as follows…”
Until the victory in Port Novo, Nigeria was ranked out of the top 20 nations but moved to the 18th on the list following last Sunday’s personal season’s best performance in Benin republic.
South Africa and Kenya will be flying the continent’s flag in the London games which will kick-off in a few weeks.
Meanwhile Nigeria still stands a chance to make the games if two of the qualified countries drop out of the event at the quadrennial Games on their own volition.
Nigeria will thus not be competing in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Olympics.
Victory in past relays have accounted for some of the nine medals Nigeria has won in the athletics event of the Olympic Games.
Masked attackers killed at least 17 people on Sunday in gun and grenade attacks on churches in a Kenyan town used as a base for operations against al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Somalia.
At least 45 people were wounded in the simultaneous attacks on Garissa, in the north of the East African country which has suffered a series of blasts since sending troops into Somalia last October to crush Somalia’s al Shabaab militants.
“We have 17 bodies at the mortuary so far,” regional medical officer Abdikadir Sheikh told Reuters.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Police said they suspected the attacks could have been the work of al Shabaab sympathisers or bandits, but it was too early to say. Inside Somalia, al Shabaab declined comment.
“The goons were clad in balaclavas,” regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo told Reuters from Garissa.
He said a total of seven attackers hurled grenades inside the Catholic Church and the African Inland Church and then opened fire with guns. They struck the churches, which are 3 km (two miles) apart, at around 10.15 a.m. (0715 GMT)
Two policemen were among the dead.
They were the latest attacks on Christian worshippers in Kenya after two people were killed in grenade blasts in March and April.
But Sunday’s coordinated attacks on churches resembled the tactics of Nigeria’s Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed hundreds of people on the other side of the continent.
Other blasts in Kenya have hit nightclubs and bus stations in the capital Nairobi, the coastal city of Mombasa and areas near the Somalia border.
Although a majority of Kenyans are Christian, Garissa is more heavily Muslim.
The town of around 150,000, a market centre for the trade in camels, donkeys, goats and cattle, is largely populated by ethnic Somalis.
“You can imagine for such a small town how the police and medical services have been stretched trying to deal with this,” the police’s Ndolo said.
Garissa is about 100 km (60 miles) from Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, where gunmen kidnapped four aid workers and killed a driver on Friday before fleeing towards the border with Somalia.
Last Sunday, three people were killed in a grenade attack at a night club in the port city of Mombasa, a day after the U.S. embassy in Kenya warned of an imminent attack on the city.
Seven countries, Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey, Benin Republic, Serbia and Cote d’Ivoire, have started building their permanent embassies at the Diplomatic Drive, a street allocated to them in Abuja.
The Iraqi Ambassador to Nigeria, Ali Al-Amery, says the new embassy would be completed by April next year. According to Al-Amery, a local construction company is n charge of the project which would cost about three million dollars. On the other hand, the Ambassador of Serbia, Mr Rifat Rondic, says their construction project which would end at 2014 is being handled by Energo company, a Serbian firm. Some embassies – Ghana, China, the United States, Niger, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cuba and Liberia – are already operating from the Diplomatic Drive. Others are Palestine, North Korea, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, apart from the embassies, the Diplomatic Drive area also houses a government agency, a church and an automobile dealership and this has led to criticisms by security experts. “If government has designated the area for the embassies, no other agency should be situated there; it is called Diplomatic Drive; I believe the aim is to have a number of the diplomatic offices in one location. “This is not only for easy access, but also for security reasons,” Mr. Emmanuel Ekpu, a security expert, said. The UN House, attacked by the Boko Haram sect in August 2011, is also located on the Diplomatic Drive.
Four top athletes from Africa Vivian Cheruiyot, Pamela Jelimo, Kenenisa Bekele and Genzebe Dibaba were named among the major players for the 2012 Samsung Diamond League comprising of 14 meets taking place at Doha, Qatar and will be starting Friday 11 May.
The press conference for the meets was where it was announced by the organisers in Doha.
Bekele hails from Ethiopia and she is the World record holder for both 500 and 10,000m with 16 world titles from track and cross country in her kitty crowning with the being the reigning champion at both distance races.
Dibaba who is from Ethiopia had her first senior World title over 1500m in Istanbul, Turkey and she ended up putting up superb display this was after junior career World championship victories.
Cheruiyot from Kenya is the World Cross Country Champion and also the reigning World champion for the 500m and 10,000m as she put up a remarkable performance for the 2011 season.
Another Kenyan Jelimo is the 2008 Olympic 800m champion who bolted back fully from injury creating so much uproar at the past indoor season as she excelled at the World Indoor Championship which took place at Istanbul Turkey in March.
Abubakr Kaki a Sudanese who is two-time World Indoor 800 m champion who in Doha; Qatar clinched the silver medal was confirmed too and will do battle with 2007 World champion and Moroccan record holder Amine Laalou and Alfred Kirwa Yego from Kenya.
The Kenyan government has fired 25,000 striking health workers from its country’s public hospitals for defying an order to return to work.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua disclosed that the health workers, comprising mainly of nurses, laboratory technicians and pharmacists will be replaced by the unemployed and retired health workers.
“The government has taken this firm action to alleviate further suffering of innocent Kenyans. It is wrong and unethical, regardless of any disagreement, for a health professional to abscound duty and lead to the loss of life and or suffering of any patient” Mr Mutua said.
In response, one of the Kenya Health Professionals Society, Alex Orina, says the health workers are striking because of a heavy workload due to staff shortages, inadequate equipment and supplies.
Meanwhile, the twenty-five-thousand Kenyan health workers say they will remain on strike for better pay despite already having been fired by the government.