Kemi Adekoya wins the 400m for Bahrain at the World Indoor Championships. (Photo Credit: iaaf.org)

The only Nigeria-born athlete to have made it to the podium at the ongoing World Indoor Championships thus far, did so in style, but in the colours of another country.

Kemi Adekoya made history for her adopted country Bahrain, posting one of the superlative performances of Day 3 by racing to her first global title with a Personal Best (PB) and Asian Indoor Record (AIR) of 51.45s.

Adekoya stunned her USA rivals, Quanera Hayes and Ashley Spencer to gift Bahrain its first EVER World Indoors GOLD medal. The Americans had approached the championships as Nos. 2 and 3 on the 2016 Top list, with Adekoya occupying 6th position.

However, she wasted no time in showing that she meant serious business in Portland, winning her heat with 52.72s ahead of Commonwealth champion Stephenie-Ann McPherson, before setting a new AIR of 51.47s to win the semis, with US Indoor champion Hayes following.

The Asian Record Holder took the lead after 200m and held off the competition, with Spencer coming through to take Silver in 51.72s as Hayes placed 3rd with 51.76s. McPherson settled for 4th with 52.20s.

In her post-race interview above, the Bahraini athlete couldn’t hide her joy, and even thanked her American rivals for offering stiff competition:

“I’m so so happy; I will says thanks to God for this race. You know, I believe in myself and I believe I can do it, that’s why I came here tonight, and tried my best. I thank them (Spencer and Hayes) for competing with me, so I will say thanks to America for the competition.”

Kemi Adekoya wins the 400m for Bahrain at the World Indoor Championships. (Photo Credit: iaaf.org)
Kemi Adekoya wins the 400m for Bahrain at the World Indoor Championships. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer 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 National Sports Festival and the African Athletics Championships, and has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). Yemi holds a BA in Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University .

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