The Nigerian duo of Margaret Bamgbose and Oluwatobiloba Amusan have qualified for the finals of the women’s 400m dash and 100m Hurdles respectively at the ongoing NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships.
Bamgbose continued with her fine form this season, running the 3rd fastest time in all 400m heats to make the final, finishing 2nd in Heat 3 with a time of 51.69s.
That time is Bamgbose’s 2nd fastest of the season, and she now holds two of the three fastest times by a Nigerian quarter-miler this year, with Patience Okon George being the only athlete to have run faster after clocking 51.06s at the Akure Golden League.
Meanwhile Courtney Okolo came in with the fastest time overall in all the heats, running 50.48s to take Heat 2, with Taylor Ellis-Watson 2nd overall in 51.55s. Another Nigerian athlete, Florence Uwakwe competed in Heat 2, finishing 8th with a time of 56.28s.
Amusan on her part competed in a very stacked Heat 3 of the 100m Hurdles semis, coming up against very good athletes.
However the 2015 African Games champion dug deep and secured qualification, finishing 4th in her heat with a time of 12.98s (+0.9) to progress to the final. She was able to do that by securing one of the two best losers spots.
Heat 3 was so competitive that the first four in the race all qualified for the final on Saturday. Gunning for her first NCAA title, Cindy Ofili took the win with a time of 12.80s (+0.9), with Pedrya Seymour 2nd in 12.86s (+0.9), Chanice Chase 3rd in 12.94s (+0.9), and then Amusan who placed 4th.
This the second time Amusan will be running under 13s in the 100m Hurdles, and will be happy to have made the final in her maiden appearance at the NCAA Championships.
Meanwhile, two athletes of Nigerian descent, Morolake Akinosun and Jennifer Madu made the women’s 100m final. Both secured qualification as the fastest losers, with Akinosun finishing 3rd in Heat 2 clocking 11.23s (+1.1) as Madu came in 3rd in Heat 1 in 11.27s (+1.5)
In the women’s Shot Put, Nwanneka Okwelogu representing Harvard University finished 8th overall having placed 6th in Group 2 with her best throw of 16.91m. Claire Uke also competed in Okwelogu’s group and placed 12th with a mark of 15.30m.
Raven Saunders won the event with 19.33m and Chase Ealey 2nd throwing a distance of 17.99m as Jessica Woodard placed 3rd with 17.88m.
The Championships taking place in Oregon, has seen Nigerian athletes hold their own against some of the best in the world, and who knows, maybe any of them can get a podium placement in their respective events.
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