Two of Nigeria’s most outstanding junior athletes in recent times, Ese Brume and Divine Oduduru will lead the country’s chase for medals at the forthcoming African Junior Championships scheduled to hold in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from March 4 to 8.

The Technical Committee of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) made the selection following the performance of the athletes at the recently held D.K Olukoya Youth and Junior Athletics Championships, which took place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos last weekend, and served as National Trials for the continental championship.

The pair of Oduduru and Brume won their respective 100m races last weekend, with the former posting a time of 10.72s, while the latter clocked 12.29s in her event. Incidentally, both athletes will be making their second appearance at the African Juniors, after featuring in the 2013 edition where Oduduru claimed titles in the 200m and 4x100m relay, while Brume won the Long Jump and 4x100m, and then finished as runner-up in the Triple Jump.

Oduduru went on to win Silver at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon last year with a blistering time of 20.25s, (though wind-assisted), which incidentally turned out to be Nigeria’s only medal at the championships! His time also ranks as one of the top five fastest times run by a Nigerian (unofficially, since it is not valid for record purposes due to the strong tailwind).

Brume, on the other hand, stunned the Long Jump field at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, making a leap of 6.56m to win GOLD, and thereafter claimed her first senior continental title at the African Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

The 34 athletes are expected to report to Sagamu, Ogun State today (February12) where they will resume closed camping ahead of the championships, which is less than a month away. Seven coaches have been hand-picked to put the athletes in top shape in the quest to consolidate on Team Nigeria’s performance from two years ago.

Nigeria won the last edition of the African Junior Championships staged in Mauritius with nine GOLD, seven Silver and three Bronze medals, two GOLD medals more than fierce rivals, South Africa, which won the highest number of medals overall. 2015 host, Ethiopia settled for third place with seven GOLD, seven Silver and eight Bronze medals.

LIST OF ATHLETES AND OFFICIALS SELECTED FOR THE AFRICAN JUNIORS

100/200/4x100m Boys
Oduduru Divine
Victor Peka
Igube ThankGod
Ashien Godwin
Olisakwe Chukwu

100/200/4x100m Girls
Adiakerehwa Blessing
Abolaji Omotayo Oluwaseun
Aniekeme Alphonsus
Ntia-Obong Mercy
Ese Brume

400/4X400m Girls
Adeloye Tosin
Idamadudu Praise
Asamu Tobi
Odiong Edidiong Ofonime
Ajayi Yinka

400/4x400m Boys
Nathaniel Samson
Fasasi Adekunle Rilwan
Adeyemi Sikiru Adewale
Precious Moses
Abdulgafar Audu

110m Hurdles
Bashiru Abdullahi
Atuma IfeanyiChukwu

100m Hurdles
Amusan Tobiloba
Temidayo Oshinbajo

400m Hurdles Girls
Akpofa Daisy
Glory Nathaniel

400m Hurdles Boys
Emoghene Timothy

Long Jump Girls
Ese Brume
Precious Okoronkwo
Mercy Abire

Triple Jump Girls
Uche Brown
Anigbata Grace
Nwaelehia Peace

High Jump Boys
Thaddeus Okpara

Javelin Girls
Nwanaga Kelechi.P.

Shot Put Girls
Aniefuna Anulika Judith

Coaches

Short, Long Sprints and Hurdles
Esabunor Muavaye
Endurance Ojokolo
Saheed Akinpelu
Ayodele Solaja
Solomon Aliyu

Jumps
Kayode Yaya

Throws
Ann Chet

Coaches Coordinator
Seigha Porbeni

Camp Commandant
Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo

Ese

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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