Chidi Okezie seals Paris Olympic ticket with first career sub-45s time

Chidi Okezie

Chidi Okezie seals Paris Olympic ticket with first career sub-45s time

Funmilayo Fameso 16:53 - 14.06.2024

After years of hard work trying to qualify for a major championship in the men's 400m, Chidi Okezie finally did it by punching his ticket to the Paris Olympic Games.

Just like a fine wine that gets better with time, Chidi Okezie is enjoying the best moment of his career this season with his latest milestone being punching his Paris Olympic ticket in the men's 400m event.

The veteran quarter-miler blazed to a blistering new Personal Best (PB) of 44.97s to the win at the Edmonton Invitational in Canada, bettering the automatic Paris Olympic qualifying standard of 45.00s and his first time under the mark.

Okezie's qualification is a reward for his consistency through the years, having never qualified for the individual event for a major international championship since he made his debut for Nigeria.

Chidi Okezie

He is the heart and main driving force of Nigerian male sprinters, serving as a worthy role model in his effort and patriotism in ensuring the relay teams always try to make a mark to qualify and win medals at any opportunity.

This season has been fulfilling for the 30-year-old, who started by winning Nigeria's first African Games gold medallist in 37 years. He blazed to a then PB of 45.06s to emulate the legendary Innocent Egbunike, who won the title in 1987.

Not resting on his oars, Okezie played vital roles in the mixed 4x400m and men's 4x400m relay teams winning gold and silver medals at the games.

At the World Relays, the ever-driven quarter-miler ensured the same relay teams punched their Olympic tickets. He has now sealed it with his individual qualification to put the icing on his brilliant performances this year.

Okezie will be available for the Nigeria Olympic trials from June 16 -18, where he'll be gunning to defend his title ahead of rising star Samuel Ogazi, as both are the only Nigerian 400m runners below the 45s mark this season.

After this, the focus will be fully on preparing for the Olympics, where Okezie will be aiming to lower his PB with better performances and be the force needed for the relay teams to challenge for a medal in Paris.