Aniekeme Alphonsus, Prosper Ogbonna clinch double National Junior titles!

The 2017 AFN/MoC National U18/U20 Championships which took place over the weekend at the National Stadium Abuja saw many igniting rivalry while many others stormed to Personal and Season Bests.

The most contested event at the competition was the 100m. New kid on the block, Rosemary Chukkwuma won the Youth Girls category in a time of 12.08s. Teammate Hope Joshua finished 2nd in 12.22s while MoC’s Chiamaka Egbochinam finished very closely in 3rd with a time of 12.24s.

Rivers state athlete, Omubo Garshon took the victory in the Youth Boys race in 10.87s. Ovie Amano was 2nd (11.06s) while MoC’s Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi was 3rd (11.08s).

Joy Udo-Gabriel (right) doing the ‘Gatlin style’ as she started dipping few meters to the finish line

Junior defending champion, Aniekeme Alphonsus beat MoC’s Joy Udo-Gabriel by 0.01s to claim victory once again in a time of 11.74s while Joy posted a time of 11.75s to clinch the Silver medal. Blessing Ogundiran finished in Bronze medal position in 12.13s.

Udo-Gabriel is gradually gaining ground in the women’s sprint circuit as the 18 year old narrowly missed winning the 2nd All Comers held in Abuja, two weeks ago due to inexperience which also played out at this Championships which caused her her victory for the second time and Aniekeme was experienced enough to capitalize on it.

It was a different scenario in the Junior Boys final as second place finisher at the 2nd All Comers, Usheoritse Itsekiri defeated defending Champion, Raymond Ekevwo (10.71s) in a very tough race. The latter ran a time of 10.60s to win while Jeremiah Jakpa clocked a time of 10.81 to finish in 3rd.

Usheoritse Itsekiri (middle) racing to victory in the 100 Junior finals

In the 200m Youth Girls final, Rosemary Chukwuma made it a sprint double holding off the pressure from Knowledge Omovoh to win the Gold in a time of 24.57s. Omovoh posted a time of 24.72s whileGlory Patrick finished in 3rd place in 24.82s.
Omubo Garshon also clinched his second Gold, posting a time of 21.93s to win the Youth boys category. Ovie Amano finished 2nd in 22.44s while 400m sensation, Nsikak Okon bagged the bronze medal in 22.54s.

Aniekeme attacked her curve in the 200m final like no-man-business as the African Junior Champion stopped the clock in 23.94s to win her second Gold medal and thereby becoming a double National Champion. Udo-Gabriel was second in 24.66s while Adiakherewa Blessing finished third in 24.91s.

Everyone looked forward to a race of the ‘clash of titans’ between Usheoritse Itsekiri and Prosper Ogbonna in the 200m Junior final. To the surprise of many, Prosper had the better of Itsekiri who led up to 130m but with the strength of a quatermiler which Prosper has, he powered the last 70m like a ‘wounded lion’ posting a time of 21.21s while Itsekiri finished in a time of 21.64s. Eseroghene Oguma was third in 22.21s.

It was Prosper’s second victory as the athlete who is relatively unknown in the athletic circuit had earlier won the men’s 400m final. He gave a warning in his heat of what to expect in the final when he clocked a time of 47.10s to finish as the fastest. He did not fail to deliver in the final as the youngster breezed to victory in a scorching time of 46.56s. His pace was too fast for Bamidele Emmanuel as he settled for 2nd in 46.85s while Sikiru Adewale was 3rd in 47.49s.

Uniport’s Peace Nwalehi was the lady to beat in the Junior 400m final as she sprinted to victory in a time of 54.59s. Glory Nyeke got the better of Blessing Adiakherewa as the latter ran a time of 55.88s, just 0.01s off her Personal Best while Blessing posted a time of 55.90s to finish 3rd.

Nsikak Okon clinched the National 400m Youth title as he powered through the home straight in a time of 48.90s. Olaoluwa Obashola was 2nd in 50.04s while Donatus Oghenekaro was third in 50.60s.

Nsikak Okon on his way to winning Youth 400m Boys final

In the 110mhurdles, Ojiekere Precious stormed to victory in 14.04s. Wisdom Musa finished second in 14.49s while David Olowookere was 3rd in 14.74s.

NUGA 400mh champion, Prior Ochonogor easily won the men’s final in 52.73s. David Olowookere was 2nd in 53.27s while Ismaii Muhammed was 3rd in 54.11s.

Joy Abu took charge of the women’s event she led all through till the last hurdle when Uniport’s Abasino Akpan overtook her and she stopped the clock in 61.02s. Abu came 2nd in 61.15s while Fegor Clifford was 3rd in 61.89s.

Edidiong Udo won the Junior 800m men with a time of 1:56.91s. Afam Ogbuagu (2:00.97s) and Stanley Okpala  were second and third respectively. Barnabas Genesis (4:23.72s), Stanley Opara (4:27.41s) and Jonathan Ezra (4:30.09s) were top 3 in the Junior 1500m.

Field event;

In the field events, Meyiwa Ineh entertained the crowd as the Delta state athlete leaped a mark of 7.39m to win the men’s Triple Jump. Arinze Benjamin was second in 7.21m while Nwokocha Tobechukwu was third in 6.98m. Nwalehi Peace took her second victory as her best mark of 5.77m was good enough to secure the top spot in the women’s event. Victory George finished second in 5.71m and Esther Issa jumped 5.53m to win the bronze medal. Meyiwa once again was victorious in the Triple Jump with a mark of 15.70m while Nwalehi jumped 11.90m to win the women’s event.

Defending champion, Esther Issa  scaled a height of 1.75m to win the women’s High Jump.

Esther Issa easily going over the bar at the AFN/MoC Championships

Maria Clement was second in 1.55m. Junior Champion, Isaac Odugbesan won the men’s Shot Put in a distance  of 17.17m. Amalagaoge Martins was seond in 13.43m while Kenechukwu Anyadiegwu was third in 12.59m. Hannah Kemele won the women’s Shot Put with a distance of 14.98m. Princess Kara followed in 14.89m while Onome Ogbeni was third in 12.73m.

Princess Kara won the Discuss women event with 43.27m. Onome Ogbeni and Aujaja Stephanie followed in second and third with 30.00m and 23.90m respectively.

It was a great initiative by Making of Champions to ensure that the competition was held for two days which gave room for every event in all categories to have final. It has never been done before and it is a welcomed idea. Kudos to the organizers!

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