Six Making of Champions (MoC) athletes were in action at the D.K Olukoya Youth and Junior Championships that held at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Wednesday, May 25.
It was the first outing as MoC athletes for four of them namely Chiamaka Egbochinam, Ifunanya Moughalu, Jerry Jakpa and Joy Udo-Gabriel.
They were also joined by Onengi Ikoko and Ese Oguma who both competed at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) All-Comers held in Lagos on May 4.
The D.K Olukoya Championships was used as the National Trials for the forthcoming IAAF World Junior Championships slated to hold in Poland in July.
Led to the competition by Olympic medallists and MoC Head coaches in Lagos and Enugu respectively, Deji Aliu and Uchenna Emedolu, the young athletes gave a good account of themselves in their various races.
19-year old Moughalu won her heat in the Girls’ 100m in 12.63s, and placed 3rd in her 200m race. In the same vein, 15-year old Egbochinam was impressive as she stormed to victory in Heat 3 of the Girls’ 200m in a time of 25.91s.
Moughalu who competes in the 200m/400m, wasn’t pleased with her performance, and hopes to get better: “I’m not really happy because 12.63s isn’t too fast, but I hope to lower my times subsequently”, she said.
It was another win for Team MoC in Heat 4 as 16-year old Udo-Gabriel clocked 25.71s to take the lead, a huge consolation after finishing 4th in her 100m heat as she stumbled at the beginning of her race.
Ikoko finished 2nd in his 200m heat, behind winner of the Boys’ 100m final, Raymond Ekevwo, while Jakpa set a PB of 10.81s to win his 100m heat, before placing 2nd in his 200m heat.
Oguma was the boy to beat in Heat 5 of the Boys’400m as he finished ahead of the field in 50.94s.
Jakpa revealed that the outing was an eye opener for him. He said, “It has been wonderful. I will commend MoC for their support and everything they did to make this competition conducive for us. I didn’t do as much as I expected but I have learnt that training is the No.1 key to anyone’s success.
“You must train hard to get what you want. I am not really looking forward to the World Juniors anymore, but I just want to work towards breaking my times. I ran a PB in the 100m, so the outing wasn’t in vain even though I expected to go faster.”
Coach Aliu had this to say about the athletes’ performance: “It’s all work in progress and there’s a lot to be done. By the time we get to the off season, we will be able to sit down and fix the areas that need fixing.
“We are not expecting much for now and don’t want to put too much pressure on the athletes. By next season, we will raise the bar and expect more. I felt so happy watching them run and I believe that they are athletes to watch out for in future.”