Fans of Commonwealth Games Champion Ese Brume, would be pleased to see that she’s making progress after competing in her specialist event, the Long Jump, at the first leg of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League held in Abuja on Saturday, May 14.
The continental champion kicked off her season by competing in the 400m at the AFN All Comers held in Lagos almost a fortnight ago, much to the surprise of many.
This time around, she dominated her event by securing victory with a Season’s Best (SB) of 6.54m, while Ruth Usoro (5.99m) and Abire Mercy (5.96m) placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
She said, “I feel so excited and thankful to God. I sustained a knee injury few weeks before the Warri Grand Prix last year and had to take some time off, but I have fully recovered. I hope to meet the Olympic qualification standard at my next competition, and my target for Rio is to be on the podium.”
The most anticipated event at the Abuja Golden League was none other than the men’s 100m which had the ‘big boys’ in action. The presence of former National Champions Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Obinna Metu added colour and some glamour to the event, and the pair went on to win their respective heats.
Expectations heightened ahead of the final, but it was Egwero who emerged winner in the battle for superiority, clocking 10.24s to outclass the rest of the field. Metu followed in 10.36s, while Divine Oduduru placed 3rd in 10.48s. Nicholas Imhoaperamhe finished 4th (10.52s) as Chukwuma Onyeakwu followed in 10.65s.
Peace Uko outran her rivals to take the win in 11.52s in the women’s 100m final. Agnes Osazuwa and Mercy Ntiabong clocked 11.54s and 11.65s to place 2nd and 3rd respectively. The women’s 200m comprised of a single race that was won by Praise Idamadudu who returned a time of 23.76s.
Oduduru posted the fastest time overall in the 200m heats, returning a time of 20.64s to win Heat 1 ahead of Tega Odele (21.11s) and Alieu Joof (21.63s). Metu outran his opponents to take the lead in Heat 2 with a time of 20.65s, as Imhoaperamhe raced to victory in Heat 3, clocking 21.39s. Emmanuel Arowolo won Heat 4 in 21.18s.
Orukpe Erayokan returned to winning ways to dominate Heat 1 of the men’s 400m with a Season’s Best (SB) of 46.83s, before lowering his time to 46.41s to win the final. Daniel Atinaya and Sunday Fatoyinbo placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in 47.47s and 47.52s.
African Games Silver medallist Patience Okon George was also one of the ‘big’ names at the Abuja Golden League, and she easily won her heat in 52.41s before clocking 52.11s to win the final. Yinka Ajayi and Funke Ogunbase followed in 52.65s and 53.43s respectively.
Philomena Ikehandu was the woman to beat in the 800m after returning a time of 2:10.21. The men’s 1500m was won by Soudi Hamajam in 3:52.57. Sanusi Saka and David Barnabas followed in 3:57.88 and 3:58.50.
Blessing Ibrahim claimed the women’s Triple Jump title with a leap of 13.60m, with Shola Anota winning the men’s Long Jump with 7.60m. David Ejume and Arinze Onyekwelu both jumped 7.34m.
Theddus Okpara cleared a height of 2.10m to win the men’s High Jump event. He was followed by Obiora Arinze (2.05m) and Babafemi Ayeni (1.95m). Esther Isah won the women’s event after clearing a height of 1.73m.
Olawale Olatunji (51.43m) finished ahead of Augustine Nwoye (50.87m) and Kenechukwu Ezeofor (49.60m) in the men’s Discus throw.
African Games Champion Kelechi Nwanaga continued her unbeaten run to win the women’s Javelin throw with 51.85m, while the men’s title was taken by Samuel Adams who recorded a throw of 66.96m.
Leticia Chime won the women’s Shot put with a distance of 15.27m. Eucharia Ogbukwo was 2nd with 14.10m, while Anulika Aniefuna finished 3rd with 13.38m
The serene atmosphere at the Golden League was somewhat marred by vehement protests from some athletes following the cancellation of the 4x100m relay. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were billed to present a formidable team comprising of Egwero, Odele, Imhoaperamhe and Oduduru.
Considering that Nigeria is yet to qualify for the event at the forthcoming Olympics, it was expected that the Golden League would be used as a training ground to perfect relay techniques in the bid for qualification.
One of the aggrieved athletes who spoke exclusively to Making of Champions said: “We have not qualified for the relay and we have a team that has been practicing to run a good time; we are meant to use the Golden League to practice but, the 4x100m was cancelled at the last minute.
“We were told that it was cancelled because some people had run the 100m and 200m, and as such would be burnt out before the relay, but we should have been communicated with before this decision was taken.
“I personally sat out the 200m just because of the relays. People complain about athletes not doing well, despite being owed allowances and prize monies, but no one takes the challenges we are facing into consideration. Things should be done in an orderly manner”.
An official who also chatted with Making of Champions said that the relay was scrapped because most of the sprinters had already competed in the heats and final of the 100m/200m and would have been burnt out before the race.