TEAM NIGERIA FINISHES 3RD AT AFRICAN SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Nigeria had a slow start with the team occupying number 10 spot by the second day but defied all odds to finish 3rd with 4 Gold, 5 Silver and 7 Bronze medals on the final day.
Cornell University graduate, Steven Mozia gave Nigeria her first medal in the Championship with a throw of 19.90m that placed him in third place in the Shot Put. South Africa’s Frank Elemba settled for Silver(19. 89m) while SA’s Jaco Engelbrect won the event with his last throw of 20.00m. Ogheneakpoboro Efekoro finished just outside the medal zone with a mark of 19.57m. Mozia also won a Bronze medal in the Discuss with a distance of 59.16m. South Africa’s Victor Hogan won Gold in 61.68m while his compatriot; Rusell Tucker finished 2nd with 61.44m.
2015 National champion; Gloria Asunmu finished 4th in 11. 45s as African 100m Record Holder, Murielle Ahoure won the race in a Championship Record of 10.99s. SA’s Carina Horn finished 2nd in 11.07s while Marie Ta Lou was 3rd in 11.15s. Even as Ivory Coast dominated the short sprint,
Nigeria found solace in the Women’s Shot Put as it was a 1-2-3 for the Nigerian ladies. Harvard University Junior; Nnwaneka Okwelogu threw a distance of 56.75m to convert the championship title as compatriots; Chinwe Okoro and Chioma Onyekwere finished 2nd and 3rd with a throw of 55.67m and 53.91m respectively.
Ese Brume, who a few weeks ago leaped a new personal best of 6.83m to qualify for the Olympics, retained her title in the Long Jump with a jump of 6.57m. Cameroon duo; Joelle Sandrine and Marlyne Sarah finished 2nd and 3rd with 6.39m and 6.34m respectively.
In the one lap event Patience Okon George finished third behind Zambia’s Mupopo Kabarge (51.56s) and Kenya’s Margaret Nyalrera who won Silver in 52.24s.
Nigeria’s Eroyakan Orukpe finished 4th in semifinals with 46.84s while a new face on the team, Tubotein Taylor finished 5th with 47.00s but that time could not qualify them for the final. National Champion, Chidi Okezie placed third in a time of 45.76s which serves as his personal best, Baboloki Thebe of Botswana took the title in a time of 44.69s while his compatriot; Karabo Sibanda was 2nd with 45.42s.
Nigeria’s sole representative in the men 400m hurdles, Miles Ukaomo who ran a time of 50.72s to finish second in his heat couldn’t repeat that feat as he came 8th in the final, however he was later disqualified by the track officials.
Defending champion in the men’s 110m hurdles, Tyrone Akins failed to achieve this feat once more as he lost the title to Antonio Alkano of South Africa in 13.43s, the Nigerian in second (13.74s) while Mohammed Koussi finished third in 13.94s.
Tosin Oke dethroned Khotso Mokoena to reclaim his title in the Triple Jump with a mark of 17.13s. Fabrice Zangi won the Silver with 16.81m while Khotso settled for Bronze in 16.77m. 2015 African Games Silver medalist; Olumide Olamigoke finished 5th with a distance of 16.53m.
Uhunoma Osazuwa set a Championship and National Records in the Heptathlon event as she won the title with 6153 points. Marthe Yasmine of BurkinaFaso won Silver with a score of 5952 while Ghana’s Elizabeth Dadzie settled for Bronze with 5730 points
African Games Champion; Kelechi Nwanaga finished just outside the medal zone with a throw of 53.45m to finish 4th in the javelin.
Doreen Amata cleared a height of 1.82m to finish 2nd behind Seychelles’ Lissa Labiche (1.85m) while Egypt’s Basant Hassan was third (1.79m).
Nwanneka Okwelogu and Chioma Onyekwere were once again on the podium as Nwanneka finished second with 17.07m her compatriot; Chioma was third with 15.71m. The event was won by Sally Muriol of Cameroon with 17.64m.
University of Maimi graduate; Tameka Jameson ran a time of 57.17s to win Bronze in the women’s 400m hurdles, Her first international medal for Nigeria, the race was won by South Africa’s Wenda Nel in a time of 54.86s while Maureen Jelegat of Kenya took the Silver in 56.12s.
Silver medalist at 2014 World Junior; Divine Oduduru did not start the final of the 200m which was won by Wayde Van Nierek of South Africa in a tine of 20.03s. Divine qualified for the final with the second fastest time and that would have been an opportunity for Nigerian team to win a medal in that event.
The Nigerian team only participated in the women’s 4x400m which included; Omolara Omotosho, Regina George, Yinka Ajayi and Patience George finished 2nd in 3:29.94s behind South Africa who won the Gold in 3:28.49s.
It is disappointing that a nation like Nigeria which was once upon a time referred to as the power house of African athletes could not present a team in the men relays as well as the women’s 4x100m women. No Nigerian was present in the men’s 100m and women’s 200m as well.
The next edition of the Championship would be hosted by Nigeria in Lagos state and we hope by then, the stadium would be renovated.
Next stop for Nigerian athletes would be The National trials which is billed for July and it would serve as qualification for the Olympics. We wish every athlete the very best!
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