While there is no direct Nigerian interest in the Olso Diamond League (ExxonMobil Bislett Games) tonight, as there are no athletes representing Nigeria competing, there are still plenty of reasons to tune in to catch all the action. For starters, the poster-girl for Norwegian Athletics, Ezinne Okparaebo, whom we profiled yesterday, will be going in the 100 metres, which she won at this meet 2 years ago with a time of 11.31 seconds. Her season’s best (SB) is 11.25s, but she may have to go close to her PB of 11.10s to win tonight, with Jamaica’s Aileen Bailey (SB: 11.16s) and USA’s Lekeisha Lawson (SB: 11.17s) in the race. Look out also for Team GB’s Jodie Williams (SB: 11.19s) and Asha Philip (SB: 11.20s).
Perhaps the most intriguing match up from a Nigerian perspective will involve the return of Kemi Adekoya in her second Diamond League race in the 400 metre hurdles for BAHRAIN, after she blew the field away in Doha (from Lane 1) with a new national record (NR) of 54.59s for her new country. She will be up against the in-form Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica, who leads the Diamond League standings in the event, after setting a world leading time of 53.97s in Rome last week! Adekoya beat Spencer by nearly half a second in that race in Doha, but that was when her threat was unknown to her more illustrious competitors. Now she will likely have to run another massive PB and NR, perhaps below 54 seconds, to claim victory against Spencer, who has completely dominated the field in her absence!
Finally, Britain’s Phillips Idowu will be returning in the Triple Jump after a long absence from the Diamond League – his season’s best of 16.99 metres is some way below his lifetime best of 17.81m set in 2010. He will certainly have to jump well beyond 17 metres to win in a stacked Triple Jump field – USA’s 2012 Olympic Gold & Silver Medallists Christian Taylor and Will Claye, as well as the Cubans Ernesto Revé and 16-year old Lázaro Martinez have all jumped well over 17 metres this season, as has Russia’s 2014 World Indoor Champion Lyukman Adams (who just happens to have a Nigerian father)!
So there you have it – at least FOUR athletes linked to Nigeria will be competing in Oslo tonight, but no athletes representing Nigeria involved. Make of that what you will! In other intriguing match-ups involving African athletes, Cote d’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahouré will go up against USA’s Olympic GOLD medallist, Alyson Felix in the Women’s 200 metres, while Botswana’s Amantle Montsho will be trying to overhaul Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills, who has dominated the Women’s 400 metres so far this season.
Wrapping up the evening is the Men’s 100 metres, where the Gambian-born Norwegian, Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, who will have plenty of home support as he faces a field which includes France’s Jimmy Vicaut (SB: 9.95s), Trinidad’s in-form 2008 Olympic Silver Medallist, Richard Thompson (SB: 9.95s) and South Africa’s Simon Magakwe, Africa’s fastest man this season and the only one to break 10 seconds so far, with 9.98 seconds! The evergreen 2003 World Champion Kim Collins of St Kitt’s and Nevis, and Team GB’s World Indoor Champion Richard Kilty, Adam Gemili and Danny Talbot make up the rest of 100 metre line-up!
SuperSport 9 (DSTV 209) will show the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games (Oslo Diamond League) LIVE TONIGHT from 7 – 9pm Nigerian Time, repeated on SS7 from 11pm – 1am! Select event timings as follows:
Men’s Triple Jump (Idowu & Adams vs USA & Cuba) starts at 6pm (highlights throughout live show)
Women’s 400m Hurdles (Adekoya vs Spencer) – 7:05pm
Women’s 400m (Montsho vs Williams-Mills) – 7:38pm
Women’s 100m (Okaparaebo) – 7:48pm
Women’s 200m (Ahouré vs Felix) – 8:28pm
Men’s 100m (Ndure & Magakwe vs Thompson) – 8:50pm