If on Day 2 Nigeria had a good show winning five medals, Day 3 was even better as the country won three GOLDs in Athletics at the ongoing 2015 All African Games in Brazzaville, Congo.
Is she in Brazzaville, will she run? Many questions were asked about the availability of Blessing Okagbare for the Championships following initial reports that she withdrew and was subsequently banned. However, all that was put to bed as the African Record holder ran the second leg to help Nigeria win the women’s 4x100m relay GOLD in a time of 43.10s.
Cecilia Francis had a very good start, handing over the baton to Okagbare who closed in on their opponents, with Ngozi Onwumere running a good curve in the third leg, maintaining a good lead that saw Lawretta Ozoh anchor the team to victory.
Ghana finished 2nd with a time of 43.72s to take Silver, and Ivory Coast finishing 3rd in 43.98s, as Marie Josee Talou added Bronze to her GOLD won in the 100m.
With sheer determination and great courage, Oluwatobilola Amusan stormed to victory in the women’s 100m Hurdles clocking 13.15s, adding to Nigeria’s GOLD tally. Not just Amusan, also Lindsay Weyinme made a good recovery after being behind in the sixth barrier to take Bronze in 13.30s. Senegal’s Gnima Faye won Silver with a time of 13.28s.
Amusan will be delighted with the victory, coming a day after she set a new Personal Best of 13.10 to win her heat. She could still be some way off, but Amusan might feel that she can go for Glory Alozie’s National and African Record of 12.44s.
The Nigerian quartet of : Peter Odele Tega, Obinna Metu, Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Seye Ogunlewe were disqualified from the men’s 4x100m after finishing 2nd in the race. They were adjudged to have crossed the zone before exchanging the baton in the final leg. Ivory Coast won the GOLD in 38.93s, with Namibia running a National Record of 39.22s, and getting upgraded to 2nd following Nigeria’s disqualification. Ghana won Bronze clocking a time of 39.71s.
In the women’s 400m, 2014 African Championship Silver Medallist, Kabange Mupopo bidded her time in the last 200m to overtake Nigeria’s Patience Okon George to win GOLD for Zambia, running a new PB and National Record (NR) of 50.22s.
Okon George on her part set a new PB of 50.71s to take Silver, and Namibia’s Tjipekapora Herunga got the Bronze clocking 51.55s. Oluwatosin Adeloye and Margaret Etim finished 4th and 5th running 51.82s and 52.64s respectively.
Having set two PBs in two days, Orukpe Erayokan looked to have pushed himself too hard as he finished 6th in the men’s 400m final with a time of 45.73s. Former African Record holder Isaac Makwala lived up to his favourite tag to take the GOLD in 44.35s, with Kenya’s Boniface Mweresa finishing 2nd to take Silver in 45.01s, and Onkabetse Nkobolo joining his Botswanan compatriot on the podium with his 3rd place finish in 45.50s
In a big surprise, Nigeria won its second field event GOLD through Kelechi Nwanaga, who threw the farthest in the women’s Javelin to win with a mark of 52.70m.
Nwanaga got her winning mark in her second attempt with her fellow competitors not being able to match that as she maintained the lead to win GOLD for Team Nigeria.
Ghana’s Mary Zuta won Silver with her mark of 50.93m, and South Africa’s Jo Ane Van Dyk taking the Bronze having thrown 50.52m in her fourth attempt.
Three Nigerian athletes are currently competing in the Heptathlon with four events done on Tuesday. Benin Republic’s Odile Ahouanwanou is leading the standings with 3654 points, and Nigerian National Record holder, Uhunoma Osazuwa is 2nd with 3583 points.
The other Nigerian athletes, Oluwakemi Francis is 5th on the log with 3252 points and Hope Idhe 7th, having a total of 3059 points.
Day 3 proved to be a better day for Nigeria in Athletics on a day that the men’s football team lost to Burkina Faso 3-1 in the semi-final. It promises to get better for Team Nigeria on Day 4, with more medals expected in events like the Long Jump, 200m and Heptathlon.