Nicholas Imhoaperamhe produced the best performance at the first leg of the 2015 Golden League meet held at the Rojenny stadium in Oba, Anambra state, winning the men’s 100m in a time of 10.23s. Imhoaperamhe defeated African Junior champion, Divine Oduduru to emerge victorious in a race that he was the favourite to win.
Interestingly, Imhoaperamhe had everything to win with a much lower time, and could have even made the 10.16s qualification mark for the World Championship at this meet, but he focused his attention on the time-board while in the last 10m of the race.
When MoC approached him after the race and asked why he was fixated on the time-board instead of concentrating and qualifying for the World Championships outrightly, he told us: “I am confident of qualifying; I didn’t want to run so fast here; maybe I will make the mark in Kaduna.”
With the win, Imhoaperamhe did a Personal Best (PB) and also one of the fastest times in the country this year. Oduduru on his part, despite drawing a bye in the heats and being awarded an automatic spot in the final, was beaten to 2nd place, running 10.37s in the race.
The women’s 100m final was a keenly contested one, with a photo-finish at the line. Cecilia Francis ran the fastest time in the heats, topping with a time of 11.89s, but she couldn’t replicate that in the final as she got beaten by Isoken Igbinosun, who won with a time of 11.68. “My target is to make the qualification time of 11.20 at the National trials in July,” she told us. Nkem Ezeala continued with her impressive form from the All-Comers in Lagos, finishing 2nd in Oba with a time of 11.72s, while Francis finished in 3rd position at 11.77s.
It was a beehive of sporting activities at the renovated Rojenny Stadium, with the Governor of Anambra state, Willie Obiano, commissioning the new tartan track. The stadium was opened on Thursday to host the first Golden League meet of the season, with Kaduna getting set to host the second leg.
Over 200 athletes participated at the event, which saw actions both on the track and on the field. The Hurdles was an event that drew cheers from the spectators who applauded how the athletes scaled over and aimed for glory. Temidayo Oshibanjo won the women’s 100m hurdles with a time of 14:01s, while Martins Ogieriakhi emerged vitorious in the men’s 110 hurdles.
The women’s 400m was won by Oluwatosin Adeloye who clocked 52:72s to power to victory, beating the likes of African Junior champion, Praise Idamadudu who had a very disappointing race. It was the men’s 400m race that produced all the thrills.
National champion Isah Salihu came close to being defeated in Heat 1 of the men’s 400m, but his experience saw him through in 48.09s, coming from a losing position to secure a narrow victory. Meanwhile Noah Akwu ran the fastest time in the heats, taking heat two in 47:81, but none of them matched National Sports Festival champion, Erayokan Orukpe in the final. Erayokan whose time of 46:28s earned him victory, told us that: “the new track made my race to be bumpy, and it affected my time.” Akwu finished 2nd in 47.64s.
Next stop will be the Kaduna Golden League, and athletes like Orukpe, Igbinosun and Imhoaperamhe will be hoping to consolidate on their lead in order to stand a chance of winning the N1.5million jackpot the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has set for the season.
*Results from the field events are yet to be verified by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria(AFN).