The opening day of Nigeria’s World Championship and 2022 Commonwealth Games Trials was full of a lot of thrills as athletes took to the track and field to fight for a place in the world’s bigger events which come up weeks from now, began at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, with highly tensed and scintillating performances.
The morning session of the tournament organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) began with the 10,000m event in the male category which saw seven-track athletes start the race, but only five crossed the finish line.
Ismael Sadjo, winner of the Abeokuta Marathon and the first Nigerian to cross the finish line at the Okpekpe 10km Road Race in Okpekpe last month, finished the fastest time in Benin. The athlete from Cross Rivers completed the 10,000m race event in 31:38.76. Iliya Emmanuel of Plateau came second in 31:45.55 and Gyan Emmanuel of Civil Defense third in 31:55.13.
The next event which was the discus men final was a heatly contested event, with only the top three gathering points. Ifeanyi Onukwe of Delta topped the table with a throw of 47.47m. Kenechukwu Ejiofor of Correctional Service came second with a throw as far as 47.14m and Ekonobong Cletus of AADC, third with a 45.35m throw.
In the Men 110m Hurdles, Heat 1 saw Prosper Oghenemine of Delta finish fastest in a time of 13.88s, Alex Al-Ameen came running behind in 14.21s, third had Precious Okonye finishing in 14.54s and Wisdom Great, fourth after completing the race in 15.94s. Heat 2 was more competitive with Oyeniyi Abejoye crossing the finish line first in 14.20s, Samuel Osadolor representing Edo State finishing second in 14.38s and Martins Osariakhi was able to clinch third in a time of 14.66s.
The women’s 4x100m quartet of Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha, Tobi Amusan and Tima Godbless, pulled up a brilliant race clocking a season’s best of 43.43s to win the Invitational Relay final.
Nigeria moved to 16th on the world qualifying list as Favour Ashe, Godson Brume, Alaba Akintola and Udodi Onwuzurike ran a huge season’s best of 38.34s which means they will be competing in the men’s 4x100m at the World Championships as things stand
Other events results
In Men’s Shot Put Final, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi retained his national title with a throw of 21.25 while Olukorede Samuel hit 14.52 as Abujei Chinedu clocked 14.40.
In the Men’s Hammer Final, Ibrahim Baba’s 45.07 was enough to edge him past Egbeogu Uzodinma who met 39.91 and Ayotoritse Lebi who had 39.12
In the Women’s Shot Put Heptathlon, Kemi Francis Peterson had 11.15 to best Eze Peace who had 9.92 and left Owoniyi Grace to third with 7.71.
Activities resume on Saturday at the same venue with a series of events lined up from Men and Women 10KM Walk, Women’s 3000M Staple Chase, Women’s 400M Hurdles Triple Jump Men’s Final, Men and Women’s 100M Finals and others.
Present at the Opening Day of the trials was the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu, AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, and AFN immediate past president, Solomon Ogba amongst other top functionaries.