Omotayo Abolaji and Aniekeme Alphonsus were impressive on Day 1 of the Athletics event at the ongoing Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, clinching GOLD and Silver respectively to dominate the Girls’ 100m event.
Incidentally, the pair was part of Nigeria’s GOLD winning team in the 4x100m at this year’s African Junior Championships, having teamed up with Ese Brume and Blessing Adiakerehwa to take the victory in Ethiopia. The athletes are definitely trying to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the the World Youth Championships, which was held in Cali in July.
Both athletes had the two fastest times in the heats, with Alphonsus clocking 11.72s to qualify for the semis, while Abolaji returned a time of 11.80s. They further lowered their times in the semis, as Alphonsus posted 11.58s while her team mate ran 11.75s.
Abolaji however took the lead in the final, racing to GOLD in 11.59s as her compatriot followed in 2nd place with a time of 11.64s, making it Alphonsus second Silver medal this year after winning the same colour of medal in the 100m at the African Juniors. Alisha Rees of Scotland was 3rd in 11.72.
Despite having a good start in the Boys’ category, Idjesa Uruemu finished outside the podium in 5th place where he clocked 10.47s. He had earlier run the fastest time overall in the semis , qualifying for the final with a mark of 10.37s.
However it was reigning African Youth champion in the 100m/200m, Gift Leotlela of South Africa who took the day, storming to the title with a scorching 10.20s, the secondfastest time ever run by a boy. The mark is just 0.01 shy of the world youth fastest time of 10.19 set in 2012. England’s Rechmial Miller was 2nd (10.39s), while Scotland’s Cameron Tindle (10.42s) took the Bronze.
Nigeria’s second GOLD medal of the day was won by the 4x400m Girls’ team comprising of Adiakerehwa, Abolaji , Alphonsus and Priase Idamadudu . The team returned a time of 4:02.75 to finish ahead of host nation, Samoa. Jamaica (3:13.45) won the Boys’ category of the relay, ahead of Samoa (3:43.15) and Kenya, who were eventually qualified.
Idamadudu and Adiakerehwa ran in the heats of the Girls’ 400m race and qualified for the final, which comes up on Tuesday. Team mate Sikiru Adeyemi also achieved the same feat in the Boys’ 400m. Idamadudu will then compete in the heats of the 200m on the same day, along with Alphonsus, while Ese Itsekiri and Uruemu will run in Round 1 of the Boys’ 200m. Also in action on Tuesday is Uche Brown who will take part in the Girls’ Long Jump event.