The likes of Nicholas Imhoaperamhe, Orukpe Erayokan and Isoken Igbinosun are favoured to win their respective events, but will be faced with stiff opposition from their colleagues at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League holding this weekend in Kaduna.
Two weeks ago, Imhoaperamhe emerged the fastest man at the first leg of the series held in Oba, Anambra State where he ran a Personal Best (PB) of 10.23s ahead of African Junior champion, Divine Oduduru (10.37s) and Odele Tega (10.50s). He can expect the pair to mount a serious challenge at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium on Saturday.
Igbinosun won the women’s event with a time of 11.68s, and was followed by Nkem Ezealah of the Nigeria Customs (11.72s), Cecilia Francis (11.77s) and 4x100m African Junior GOLD medallist, Abolaji Omotayo (11.84s).
According to the list released by the AFN during the week, athletes that qualified for the Kaduna meeting will be accommodated and accorded other special treatment by the federation. The quartet of Imhoaperamhe, Oduduru, Tega and Emuobonuvie Mamus will benefit from this gesture, and same goes for their female team mates Igbinosun, Ezealah, Francis and Omotayo.
The four athletes that qualified in the women’s Shot put are Uju Anoliefo (14.09m), Eucharia Ogbukwo (14.05m), Nkechi Chime (13.97m) and Gift Michael (11.61m). Four men Javelin throwers also made the cut for the Kaduna Golden League; they are Kure Samuel Adams (69.78m), Kenechukwu Ezeofor (66.55m), Friday Osayande (62.42m) and Ezeh John Mike (61.38m).
The qualifiers in the women’s Long Jump are African Championships Silver medallist Chinazom Amadi (6.15m), Commonwealth champion Ese Brume (6.06m), Blessing Ibukun Ibrahim (5.77m) and Hope Idhe (5.74m). There was a sharp contrast in the men’s category as only two male athletes, Babajide Okulaja and Oluwatoyin Oladimeji qualified.
Martins Ogierakhi, a Bronze medallist at the 2014 Africa Championships and one of the contenders for last year’ Golden League jackpot, leads the 110m hurdles qualifiers with a time of 14.18s; others are Samuel Okon (14.18s), Wisdom Benjamin (14.28s) and Bashiru Abdullahi (14.42s).
Four athletes achieved the qualifying mark in the men’s High jump event: they are Theddus Okpara (2.05m), National champion Obiora Arinze (2.05m), Ayebide Kingsley (2.00m) and Awoke Chizoba (2.00m).
In the women’s full lap, Oluwatosin Adeloye (52.7s), Rita Ossai (53.54s), Praise Idamadudu (54.08s) and Josephine Ehigie (54.41s) qualified for the Golden League alongside Erayokan (46.28s), Noah Akwu (47.64s), Nathaniel Samson (47.81s) and Isah Salihu (48.14s) in the men’s race.
The women’s 400m Hurdles produced four qualifiers namely Daisy Akpofa of Delta State (58.99s), Sarah Kadiri (60.66s), Efe Favour (60.80s) and Glory Nathaniel (61.02s).
Four athletes also made the Golden League in the 1500m men: Soudi Hamadjam, Musa Godfrey Charles, Dessidji Romany and Barnabas David. The following clubs also qualified for the relays: Customs, CDA, NSCDC, Police, and Esteem Athletics Club.
All the athletes competing in Kaduna are still in pursuit of the qualification mark for the forthcoming IAAF World Championships in Beijing, and the All-Africa Games slated to hold in Congo Brazzaville in September. The third and final leg of the Golden League will be hosted in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on July 11th.