Home Athletics Nigeria’s 4x400m Olympic relay team from Sydney wants a gold-medal ceremony

Nigeria’s 4x400m Olympic relay team from Sydney wants a gold-medal ceremony


Former Nigeria sprinter Enefiok Udo-Obong instructed ESPN that the 4x400m relay staff that received silver within the Sydney Olympics 21 years in the past, which has since been upgraded to gold, had its second of glory “stolen” by the USA.

The American staff, led by Michael Johnson, received gold on the day. However doping violations revealed in subsequent years saw the gold change hands to Nigeria. Though the Nigerian staff members have since obtained their medals, albeit 14 years later, they wish to stand in entrance of the world and listen to their anthem performed.

Udo-Obong, who ran a blistering ultimate leg within the ultimate for Nigeria in Australia, instructed ESPN: “It’s a feeling that was stolen from us.

“We raised that concern after we had the Athletes Discussion board in Switzerland, with the IOC, and it is without doubt one of the issues that we really feel ought to be given again to the athletes as a result of that second of delight can not actually get replaced.

“Standing in front of the world with a billion viewers watching you. … That was one of the things I wanted to enjoy and I didn’t enjoy that.

“That is the type of feeling I might have used to affect different youthful ones, particularly in my continent and in my nation. I did not have that have, or I did not have that chance to take action.

“We are hoping that doping will stop but even when it doesn’t, people who are clean must have a way to regain that honour which they lost.”

Wanting again, Udo-Obong concedes that Johnson’s staff was superior on the night time, and as their wild celebrations instantly after the race confirmed, the Nigerians had been ecstatic with the silver medal they’d received.

Johnson, who picked up the baton within the ultimate leg of the race, opened up such a large hole it was not possible to do something however struggle for second. Udo-Obong stretched his each final sinew to shut a 10-meter hole and sneak house for a silver medal, forward of two Caribbean nations.

“Winning the silver was an extraordinary thing,” Udo-Obong stated. “It was a feat we were so proud of, and I would have happily lived with that.

“It was a uncommon feat, one thing we had labored arduous for. It is one thing that we felt, ‘OK, high quality. We’re second greatest on this planet at that cut-off date.’ It was daring sufficient for us.”

But then, in 2004, the IAAF ruled that Jerome Young, a member of the USA team in the semifinals, was ineligible to run due to doping offenses and stripped the U.S. of its medal, moving everyone else up one place.

It was almost too good to be true, and Udo-Obong did everything he could to keep himself in check, admitting that the USA could have brought any of their talents and won the races fair and square.

He said: “Once we began listening to information about how there was discrepancies in testing of a few of the American runners, I began to suppose, ‘Oh, what if?’

“But I had to keep myself in check because I don’t like to deceive myself. The Americans could have brought any of their top 16 athletes and probably would have won the gold.

“That is how proficient their pool of quarter-milers are from the faculty stage to the worldwide stage. They had been really the king of the sprints. So, we did not really feel arduous finished by even when the tales had been popping out.”

The Nigerian Olympian was right to be cautious. USATF appealed the decision and a year later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in its favour, upholding the argument that Young did not run in the finals and so the team should not be disqualified on the basis of his drug use.

And then three years later in 2008, Antonio Pettigrew [who did run in that final], admitted that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs under the direction of now-banned U.S. track and field coach Trevor Graham.

Udo-Obong said of Pettigrew’s confession in court: “My response was that it was lengthy overdue.

“By then, I had began to name myself Olympic gold medalist as a result of I believed then I deserved the gold understanding that [four] American runners had drug-related points.

“I really feel unhappy for Michael Johnson, as a result of he deserved that gold medal. He might have run with any 4 of their athletes and nonetheless received gold. He was such an unbelievable athlete.

“This was the pre-Usain Bolt era. A sport like track and field always needed a symbol of purity, of success, of talent, and Michael Johnson was that at that period of time. He was not found guilty of anything, so it was really sad for him.”

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