NSF 2018: Usheoritse, Boluwatife & Olowookere shine on Day 2
The only promise Bukola Boluwatife(Ondo) had shown was close to bright, going by the way she almost beat Rosemary Chukwuma in the 100m heats where she clocked 11.62s, her semifinal was better in terms of timing but she only finished 3rd and came through as a fastest loser. The final proved to be a true definition of strength as she put up her frame strongly out of the blocks and held on firmly to take the National Sports Festival women’s 100m title in a beautiful Personal Best of 11.45s ahead of defending champion, Peace Uko(Akwa Ibom) and Joy Udo-Gabriel(Delta) who both clocked 11.52s and 11.53s respectively.
Usheoritse Itsekiri of Rivers State pulled a reasonably huge feat that the spectators zeroed in on. He clocked a superb 100m PB of 10.27s to snatch the men’s 100m title. Having run lifetime bests of 10.40s and 10.31s in the heats and semifinals, he shattered his best yet again to beat more favoured athletes, Ogho-Oghene Egwero(Delta) and Enoch Adegoke who were both accorded with the same time in the finals; 10.32s for 2nd and 3rd respectively. It indeed was a colossal performance for one who had never ducked under 10.4s prior to the games.
Another sensational turn up came in the aura of David Olowookere’s(Oyo) hurdling to gold, he hunted down the 400mH PB he had set a day before by a huge 0.71s and replaced it with a 51.07s clocking by holding his form against the charging through Henry Okorie who finished in 51.33s for 2nd with Sikiru Adeyemi just doing enough for 3rd in 51.96s. Interestingly, this is Sikiru’s first 400m race and he was able to clinch the bronze medal beating other experienced 400m hurdlers.
The women’s version of the 400mH was won clearly by the vibrant Rita Ossai in 59.31s ahead of Daisy Akpofa and Comfort Ekanem who got 59.69s and 59.89s in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The 400m Semifinals
The women’s 400m semifinal 1 proved to be a very fascinating matchup between Commonwealth finalist, Yinka Ajayi(Delta) and National Youth champion, Nse Imaobong Uko (Akwa Ibom). A competition where the petite Akwaibomite ran an inspiring race, managing to charge through for a stay with Ajayi in the latter part of the race till the senior athlete got to the line first in 53.09s while she took a huge 2 seconds off her PB in a fast 53.20s for 2nd, Glory Patrick got 3rd in 55.43s while Folashade Abugan won the 2nd semi in 53.68s ahead of Praise Idamadudu(Delta) who crossed the line in 54.16s.
The men’s 400m semifinals had Delta State’s Orukpe Erayokan run 46.45s as the fastest qualifier in the 2nd heat, behind him, Emmanuel Ojeli(Lagos), a budding athlete sprinted his way into 2nd and under 47s as he recorded a massive PB of 46.98s with Shedrack Akpeki finishing 3rd in 47.19s.
The last heat was won by Nathaniel Samson in 46.90s from Nsikak Okon and Isah Salihu who were timed 47.42s and 47.44s for 2nd and 3rd place. The 1st heat went to the powerful clutch of Abdulrahman Afeez in 47.91s while Victor Akhalu finished 0.03s in arrears.
10,000m was a balanced race until Ismael Sadjo of Cross River state unleashed a brutal kick of ‘daybreak’ at the bell, winning in 31:37.00 ahead of Emmanuel Gyang(Rivers) and Shehu Mu’azu(Plateau).
On the field, Delta State kept up with their dominance by virtue of Eucharia Ogbukwo’s winning throw of 15.42m in the women’s shot put.