AN athletics statistician, Olalekan Soetan, on Tuesday predicted that the likes of Oluwatobiloba Amusan, Ese Brume, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Chukwebuka Enekwechi were top contenders to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Soetan, who was reacting to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) qualifying standard, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that these athletes would easily qualify.
He said that though there were other athletes who he was sure would qualify for the Tokyo Games, but the four were top on his list.
“Looking at the standard and Nigeria’s chances, we have less than 30 athletes who are up to the task of making the automatic qualifying standard.
“Yet, many are relay events qualifiers, so to say. Four topmost Nigerian athletes won’t sweat to hit the standard, and these are all individual medals prospects.
“Tobi Amusan, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Ese Brume and Enekwechi to be precise,” he said.
According to the statistician, the country’s relays team are medals prospects at the Games.
Reacting to some enthusiasts’ comments that the standard was unrealistic, Soetan said that it was realistic and true reflection of the level of high performance the parent body was looking for.
“Any coach or athlete complaining of the high standard is oblivious of how previous standards were set, and really don’t set realistic goals years before preparing their athletes for Olympics,” he said.
The statistician also said that the ranking system, introduced by IAAF, was a welcome development.
“To me, the standards and ranking system the IAAF is applying now is satisfactory. It’s good and reasonable. The new system, using ranking scores to gain qualification, is a welcome one.
“More interesting is that it is introduced to augment the usual qualifying standard, set around top 30 to 50 best ranked athletes in each event in the season preceding the Games.
“The main reason the standards were set higher than usual at 12 to 25 performances on IAAF Top list in 2018, is to get the best athletes that will gain automatic qualification,” he said.
Soetan said that any athlete who didn’t have performance that ranked on IAAF top 30 list, should not expect a magic podium finish.
He added that athletes who rarely ranked among the top 100 in best events should not dream of going to the Olympics.
– Mar. 19, 2019 @ 12:30 GMT /