The attention of the world turns to Athletics today as the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships begin in London, with Usain Bolt expected to be the main attraction.
Bolt, who is the defending champion of the 100m and 200m events, is competing in his last athletics event, after announcing he’ll be retiring from the sport that has brought him so much.
The 30-year-old world record holder will retire after the London meet, where he’d be competing in the 100m and 4x100m relays events.
With Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medalist, set to ensure he ends on a high, one of those tipped to challenge the Jamaican, Andre de Grasse of Canada, will miss the championship, following a hamstring tear injury.
De Grasse, who won silver medal in the 200m event at the last Olympics, ran a wind-assisted 9.69seconds in June, and said it was really unfortunate as he’d focusing on the London events.
“Injuries are a part of the sport, and the timing of this one is especially unfortunate,” he said.
“The entire year this 100m race in London was my focus. I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world. To not have this opportunity is unimaginable to me but it is the reality I am now faced with.”
For Nigeria, despite the unfortunate tale of delay in issuing transit visas to her delegation to the London Championships, the country’s flag will be flying high as the first set of Nigerian athletes left for London yesterday, after picking their visas from the British High Commission, with those who could not get theirs yesterday expected to depart today.
Nigeria’s hopes of winning medals at the event will be led by superstar, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who wasn’t affected by the visa hitches, and already in London, alongside long jumper, Ese Brume, who got her visa yesterday but is expected to arrive London today.
The 2017 World Championships start later today, with the male events, starting with the preliminary round of the 100m, taking the centre stage.