Nigerian and African 110m Hurdles champion, Tyron Akins, will face the world’s best hurdlers in Marrakech as the IAAF Continental Cup takes center stage this weekend.
Akins, who recently switched allegiances from Team USA to Nigeria, emerged national 110 hurdles champion at the National Trials in Calabar in June and has not looked back since. The Continental Cup will become the third international outing for the hurdler who is keen on maintaining his winning streak.
His first appearance for Nigeria was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he missed out on the finals, finishing seventh in the heats with 13.77s. However Tyrone more than made up for this disappointment by leading teammates Alex Al-Ameen and Martins Ogierakhi in a clean sweep of all the medals at stake in the 110 hurdles at the African Championships last month.
He posted a time of 13.57s, while Al-Ameen and Ogierakhi clocked 13.78s and 13.80s respectively. The last time Nigeria won the 110m hurdles was in 1996 when national record holder in the event, William Erese mounted the podium in Yaounde, Cameroun!
After the race, an excited Akins said, “Well I feel good because our goal when we were coming here was 1-2-3. We never said Tyron you win, and this guy second or any of that. It was strictly 1-2-3. We were going to push each other like we always do. I knew I had a pretty good start so those guys know I was going to get out of the blocks, so once I get out, you come with me and we gonna be good to go.
“I know that these guys are going to come towards the end. Martins is a strong competitor so he’s going to be there all through the race. Our goal was accomplished; it was 1-2-3. It could have gone either way; he could have won, we could have run 14s as long as Nigeria won the medals, that was what we were worried about but the focus was 1-2-3.”
Despite an unprecedented 1-2-3 finish in Marrakech however, Akins will be without his Nigerian teammates at the Continental Cup, where athletes from the same nation cannot represent their continent in the same event. Instead he will partner with South Africa’s Ruan De Vries who finished fourth at the African Championships. Akins’ Season’s Best of 13.56s puts him at 63rd in the world rankings this year, while the South African follows ten places after with a time of 13.62s.
Leading the Americas team is World No.3, Ronnie Ash of the USA who is the only sub-13s performer in the field (12.99s). Cuba’s Yodan O’Farrill is No.10 with 13.19s. Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov (13.13s) is world No.5 this year and finished 2nd in the IAAF Diamond League standings after Pascal Martinot-Lagarde who amassed 27points. William Sharman of Team GB is No.7 with a time of 13.16s, while No.14, Xie Wenjun of China (13.23s) and Abdulaziz Al-Mandeel (63rd) would represent the Asian-Pacific interest.
The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Tyron Akins will be representing Team Africa in the men’s 110m hurdles on Sunday Sept 14th at 6.45pm!
Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm