Divine Oduduru and Blessing.Okagbare have been reinstated into the World Championships in Doha.
Both athletes were disqualified for not showing up in the 100m race after being listed to compete.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) had entered both athletes for the race, but the duo had not intended to run the distance.
Because of a mix-up by their nation’s track federation, Oduduru and teammate Blessing Okagbare were each disqualified after they didn’t show up for the 100-meter races that they never intended to run. Only after an appeal and a long wait did they find out they were back in.
Oduduru ended up qualifying for the semifinals of the 200 meters. Okagbare will run Monday.
“It’s tough, but for you to be a great athlete, you have to have a great attitude,” Oduduru said.
The problems stemmed from a rule that states that if athletes don’t show up for races, they’re disqualified from the rest of the meet.
Oduduru and Okagbare had told their federation they weren’t running in the 100, but the federation put their names on the entry form anyway. They had to appeal the decision, and not until 2 p.m. Sunday — about five hours before race time — did Oduduru actually know he was in.
Oduduru is the NCAA champion for Texas Tech at both 100 and 200 meters. He wanted it clear that neither he nor Okagbare had anything to do with this mix-up.
“I think they should take more responsibility, take the time to do the things they need to do to get things right,” Oduduru said. “So people won’t go around thinking the athletes are the problem.”
For failing to feature in the event, the IAAF, according to its rules, disqualified both from the 200m and 4×100 relays they had hoped to participate in.
The world body, however, accepted the appeal of the athletes and reinstated them into the championships.
Meanwhile, Oduduru finished fourth in 20.40 seconds in Heat 1 but it was enough to see him qualify to the semi-finals of the 200m event.
The Women’s 200m begins on Monday.