Udo-Gabriel, Akpeki, Omubo & others shine at ECOWAS U20 Games
The 2018 edition of the CAA Region II Junior Athletics Competition held in Cape Coast, Ghana saw many Nigerian young athletes finish in podium positions with Team Nigeria leaving the Games with a total of 33 medals; 16 Golds, 9 Silver and 8 Bronze medals.
On the first day of the competition, Nigeria’s Yinka Bamtefa won the women’s 1500m with a time of 4:36.90 as Ghana’s Rita Kyere finished 2nd in 4:38.60s and Togo’s Celina Lare was 3rd in 4:52.47s.
While in the two lap event, Hamid Sambo powered through to the finish line to clinch the GOLD for Nigeria in 1:53.00s with Niger’s Chaibou Illa and Ghana’s Fredrick Osei settling for Silver and Bronze in 1:53.66s and 1:53.70s respectively.
One of Nigeria’s hope in the Women’s 400m hurdles, Abasiano Akpan was disqualified for a false start as compatriot Joy Abu raced to GOLD in 1:04.90s, with Ghana’s Mariama Fatao 2nd in 1:08.21s and Burkina Faso’s Koala Fatoumata 3rd in 1:11.80s.
National Junior Champion in the Men’s event, David Olowokere finished 2nd in 54.30s behind Ghana’s Mammoudou (52.03s) as Osborn Turkson also from Ghana finished 3rd in 55.53s
Fastest U20 Nigerian female athlete, Joy Udo-Gabriel stopped the clock in a time of 11.72s to take the 100m victory ahead of Ghana’s Halutie Hor (11.74s) and fellow compatriot, Rosemary Chukwuma (11.78s) who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. While Omubo Garshon took the men’s event in 10.54s as Edwin Kwabla won the Silver in 10.57s and Alaba Akintola settled for Bronze in 10.63s.
You would recall that at the National U20 trials two weeks ago, Omubo Garshon ran a blistering 10.50s in the heat before dipping in 10.47s in the semis then went on to finish 3rd in the final in 10.74s due to a hamstring injury.
The field athletes were not left out in the medal rush as Arinze Benjamin (7.09m) and Meyiwa Ine (6.97m) made it a 1-2 for Team Nigeria in the men’s Long Jump event leaving Ghana’s Harry Afavoe to take the Bronze with a leap of 6.85m. Meyiwa went on to win his trademark event -Triple Jump- with a distance of 15.46m.
Delta native, Hannah Kemele threw a distance of 13.01m to clinch the Gold in the Women’s Shot Put. Ghana’s Rashida Abass won Silver with 11.49m, as Lawrima Cooper won Liberia’s first medal as she clinched the Bronze with 11.13m.
Multiple National Champion, Esther Isa though sustained an injury, she was able to scale the 1.75m height at the ECOWAS Games to clinch the Gold. Ghana’s Rose Amoenimaa jumped 1.71m to settle for Silver while Burkina Faso’s Fatimata Zoungraba was 3rd with 1.55m,
On Day 2, there were more medals for Team Nigeria as Shedrack Akpeki who ran a PB of 47.09s in the 400m heat raced to glory in the Men’s 400m final with a time of 47.25s. Ghana’s Daniel Otibo finished 2nd in 47.77s with Nigerian Junior Champ, Francis Nsikak settling for 3rd in 48.19s.
Udo-Gabriel made it a sprint double as she clinched the 200m Women’s title in a new PB of 23.92s. This is the first time the Unilag undergraduate is dipping under 24s and she did it beating teammate Chukwuma Rosemary (24.12s) and Ghana’s Halutie Hor (24.29s).
In the Women’s 100m hurdles, Victoria Adubi got to the finish line first in a time of 14.63s. While in the men’s 110m Hurdles, Nigeria’s Yusuf Muhammed got the Bronze in 14.36s.
Hamid Sambo and Bamtefa clicnhed double Gold, winning the men’s 1500m (3:57.66s) and Women’s 800m (2:26.87s) respectively.
Team Nigeria’s quartet; Joy Abu, Blessing Ogundiran, Bantefa and Abasiono won the Women’s 4x400m in 3:47.07s. Team Ghana (3:50.05s) and Team Burkina Faso (4:05.55s) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. While their male counterparts; Nsikark Fancis, David Olowookere, Alaba Akintola and Shedrack Akpeki settled for Silver ( 3:14.71s) behind Ghana (3:13.61s) and ahead of Sierra Leone (3:26:52s)
In the Sprint relays, Ghana got the better of the Nigerian Relay squad, winning both the Men (40.77s) and Women’s (45.85s) races. Nigeria male (40.91s) and female (46.41s) team finished in Silver position respectively while Cote d’ivoire settled for Bronze in the men (43.23s) and Women’s (49.88s.) events.