Being the first meet organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) in 2017, athletes from different parts of the country turned out in their numbers at the All Comers competition held at the University of Port Harcourt, mainly to ascertain their readiness for the new season.
With the World Championships coming up in August as well as other continental Youth and Junior Championships, the All Comers was a perfect fit for athletes to gain competition experiences before the different National trials coming up later this year.
The women and men’s 100m final was competed for just minutes after the men’s heats were concluded, nevertheless there were still impressive performances to cheer about.
Mercy Ntia Obong clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 11.70s to win the women’s 100m beating Rashidat Lawal who was 2nd in 11.81s, and Blessing Adiakherewa 3rd in 12.00s.
For the men’s final, Harry Chukwudike who last week won the NUGA trials representing the University of Port Harcourt raced to a time of 10.48s, while Emmanuel Arowolo came in 2nd in 10.53s and Chukwudi Olisakwe 3rd in 10.58s.
In the Hurdles events, there were only 20 barriers for 2 lanes, making only two athletes able to compete in a heat. The women’s 100m Hurdles saw Grace Ayemoba beating Esther Isa to win in 14.27s, while in the 110m Hurdles, Precious Ojiekere ran the fastest time of all the heats, winning heat 3 in 14.06s.
The women’s 400m went to a straight final, with Praise Idamadudu clinching victory in 54.51s, more than 2seconds faster than her closest challenger. Tracy Idugboe finished 2nd in 57.82s while Comfort James was 3rd in 58.63s.
If the women’s 400m was just a straight final, the men’s categories was decided by the fastest from the heats because there were as much as six heats.
In a race that had Nigeria athlete Henry Okorie, Daniel Atinaya was the surprise winner after beating the former to emerge overall winner by taking heat 4 in 47.29s. Okorie finished 2nd in that heat, but Shedrack Akpeki won heat 3 in 48.39s and emerged the 2nd overall best, with Prosper Ogbonna who was 2nd in that race in 48.51s finishing overall 3rd.
Timothy Emoghene emerged tops in the 400m Hurdles after winning heat 2 in 53.78s to win with the overall best time, while Abasiono Akpan won the women’s category with a time of 63.96s.
Only one athlete competed in the women’s 800m, as Chinonso Nwokeoji crossed the line in 2:23.72. Meanwhile in the men’s category and with eight athletes competing, Edidiong Okon won in 2:00.82, almost four seconds faster than Faith Monday who finished 2nd in 2:04.55, and Stanley Okpala 3rd in 2:06.86
With rain falling in between the women’s and men’s 200m, there was a little bit of technical fault with the Timetronics, and it was difficult ascertaining the times of the races. However, heat 1 of men’s 200m was impressive as Arowolo trumped all the heats, clocking an SB of 21.43s.
Princess Kara won the women’s Discus throwing a distance of 44.78m, beating Kasie Ugeh who was 2nd with a mark of 36.78m and Analika Aniefuna 3rd with 25.84m.
Blessing Oluwayemi won the men’s Long Jump after leaping a distance of 7.26m, with Theddus Okpara 2nd after going a distance of 7.04m and David Kingston 3rd with 7.02m.
In the women’s Long Jump, Maria Thompson emerged tops with a mark of 5.90m, as Victory Odiphri finished 2nd with 5.64m and Kome Okolosi 3rd with 5.52m.
Abiola Olajide won men’s Triple Jump with a mark of 15.82m, as Nzube Ihezue came in 2nd with 15.44m and Meyiwa Ine finished 3rd with 15.16m.
Ndifreke Martin won the men’s Javelin after landing the spear on 58.50m, while Lawrence Onyejiaka finished 2nd with 52.44m and Ebuka Waji 3rd with 47.55m.
Men’s Shot Put was won by Martin Amalagauge throwing a distance of 11.63m and Onyejiaka 2nd in 11.26m while Reuben Eduviere was 3rd with 11.25m. In the women’s category, Eucharia Ogbuko won with a mark of 14.62m with Anulika Aniefuna 2nd with a throw of 12.60m and Gift Michael 3rd with 12.35m.
These were encouraging performances, and considering that this is the first meet holding this year, and with subsequent competitions like the Golden Leagues yet to commence, we would definitely see improved performances as the season progresses.