After being sidelined by injury for the better part of the 2015 Athletics season, Nigerian quartermiler Omolara Omotosho is now set to put all of that behind her as she opened her season at the 3rd Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League held in Sagamu on May 31.
The 2014 IAAF World Relays Bronze medallist was one of the many athletes who showed up for the competition at the Gateway Stadium, and she raced to a Season’s Best (SB) of 52.61s enroute winning Heat 1 of the women’s 400m ahead of Sade Abugan (53.82s) and Ibukun Mayungbe (53.99s).
Omotosho who has a Personal Best (PB) of 51.28s, started strong in the final, but had to dig deep to produce another SB of 52.44s to win the race. Ossai and Yinka Ajayi placed 2nd and 3rd respectively with 52.57s and 52.67s. Speaking to reporters after her race, an exhausted Omotosho said:
“I picked an injury when I was in Team Nigeria’s camp in the US in 2014 and I was even sent home due to the injury. Things haven’t been easy for me and I wasn’t treated right. Last year nobody even called to find out how I was doing. Thank God for the encouragement from my family and my coach.
“They are the ones who keep telling me that I can do it. In Nigeria once an athlete gets injured, you are on your own. Right now I don’t care about the federation’s motivation or not; this is my dream, and if I do not achieve it, I won’t feel happy, because doing this is my joy. I feel so bad when I see my mates running and I’m not a part of it.
“This is my first race of the season, and I believe that starting with a 52 is good. Hopefully I pray to perform better than this at the Golden League final in Akure. My target is to do a 50 by God’s grace. I had a long break but I’m surprised by the progress I’m making”.
Ogho-Oghene Egwero won the men’s 100m final in 10.35s as Emmanuel Arowolo and Abiola Soyemi followed in 2nd and 3rd in 10.65s and 10.73s respectively. Making of Champions’ (MoC) Peter Edwin was 4th with a time of 10.84s.
Arowolo, who has broken his PB in the 100m/200m several times this year, had earlier set a lifetime best of 10.57s to win his heat, and revealed that he hoped to run faster in Akure: “Sagamu wasn’t too bad but I wasn’t impressed with my time even though it’s a PB.
“I was hoping to run faster, maybe a 10.2 or 10.3. I listen to advice from coaches and friends and then incorporate them into my training, so I think that’s the reason for my recent improvement. Akure is my home, so I will just say you should expect the unexpected from me next week”.
Agnes Osazuwa clocked 11.81s to win the women’s 100m final. Justina Sule and Mariam Bassey Edet posted 11.94s and 12.01s respectively to finish in 2nd and 3rd.
Isah Salihu clocked an SB of 46.85s to win the men’s 400m final. Henry Okorie and Tobi Ogunmola were 2nd and 3rd in 47.62s and 47.74s.
Kazeem Adeyemi of the Nigeria Police Force won the men’s Race Walk in 49.05s, with Elegbede Bamidele and Fatoyingbo following in 2nd and 3rd in 49.15s and 49.24s respectively.
The women’s category was won by Fadekemi Olude in 53.18s, while Kate Henshar and Joy Davis followed in 55.34s and 56.44s.
Ese Brume who is still in pursuit of the Rio 2016 qualifying mark of 6.70m, first competed in the 100m where she won her heat with a time of 11.89s, before winning the Long Jump with her leap of 6.60m. Abire Mercy was 2nd in 5.87m, and Oghenekome Okolosi 3rd with 5.71m.
The men’s 5000m was dominated by Saka Sanusi who raced to victory in 15:23.75, finishing ahead of Tyoapine Akukwa and Godfrey Musa who clocked 15:34.76 and 16:02.47.
The women’s Shot put title was won by Nkechi Chime with a distance of 14.46m. Eucharia Ogbukwo was 2nd with 14.22m. Feyisayo Daramola took the women’s Hammer throw with a distance of 55.67m, with Sophiat Omizi and Rashidat Quadri placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
African Games champion Kelechi Nwanaga dominated the women’s Javelin throw once again with her winning mark of 50.78m, with Priscilla Zever coming 2nd with a distance of 40.28m.