Organizers of the 2000 Sydney Olympics finally released the gold title won in 2000 by Enefiok Udo Obong at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
In 2000,the race for men’s 4x400m gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics was over in less than three minutes. But it took 12 years for the result to be confirmed – that Nigeria had won. It remains Nigeria’s only Olympic track title, as well as the country’s most recent gold. Enefiok Udo Obong ran the anchor leg that day and took two men in the last few metres. This is his story.
The quartet of Enefiok Udo Obong, Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye and Sunday Bada. Nigeria’s 4x400m gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics will go down in history because of the drama that surrounded its wait.
Going into the race as underdogs – with the USA the overwhelming favourites to triumph – the goal was to post a record African time and see just where it placed them in the final.
“Our coach Innocent Egbunike told us we were posting faster times than his team did when they won bronze at the 1984 Olympics – so our goal was to break the African record,” Udo Obong told BBC Sport Africa.
“But as the race progressed and we got to the semis, we believed we could perform miracles,”
Starting right alongside them was the USA team: Alvin and Calvin Harrison, Antonio Pettigrew, and, anchoring the quartet, one of the undisputed all-time track legends, Michael Johnson.
Udo Obong – only 18 years old and at his first Olympics – was Johnson’s counterpart.
“It was actually my first competition outside Africa,” Udo Obong said.
“I had that youthful exuberance – the feeling that I could do anything.
“The rest of the team were established internationals – Sunday Bada was well decorated, Clement Chukwu came in as the NCAA champion from the USA and Jude Monye had a world indoor experience.
“But they were not so optimistic of our chances, because they knew who we were up against.”