With Team Nigeria having waited till Day 3 to win its first and second GOLD medals at the ongoing African Championships in Durban, it only got better on Saturday as Tosin Oke and Uhunoma Osazuwa added to that haul making it four GOLDs after Day 4 events.
Not only did Osazuwa win GOLD in the Heptathlon, she did it in style scoring a Championship and National Record of 6153 points. It was a feat that saw her surpass her previous Personal Best (PB) of 6106 points set at the 2015 National Championships in Warri.
However, it was a bit painful for the Nigerian who narrowly missed out on an automatic Olympic qualification by just 47 points, with the official mark set at 6200 points. Osazuwa showed how much she needed the qualification by how hard she pushed herself in the 800m which was her final event, running a good race and a setting a new PB of 2:17.50 in the event as she chased qualification.
Burkina Faso’s Marthe Yasmine Koala won Silver having scored 5952 points and Ghana’s Elizabeth Dadzie winning Bronze with 5730 points. Osazuwa will now shift attention at hitting the mark during the National trials next month.
Meanwhile in the men’s Triple Jump, Oke showed why he is still the best in the country after leaping to a Season’s Best of 17.13m to win GOLD and reclaim the African title he lost two years ago to Khotso Mokoena.
Oke showed that he was in for business when he jumped 16.64m in his first attempt. He stepped up and attained the winning mark in his second attempt, and was very thrilled when he saw what distance he had gone.
The last time Oke did 17.00m was at the 2015 African Games, where he won GOLD with exactly 17.00m, in fact it was his biggest leap through out last season, and now proving that he still has the competitive verve in him. Fabrice Zango won Silver with a mark of 16.81m with Mokoena settling for Bronze in 16.77m. Nigeria’s Other competitor, Olumide Olamigoke finished 5th with a mark of 16.53m
Just like Osazuwa, Oke also has now won two continental titles in quick succession, with both winning their events last year in Congo Brazzaville.
In the men’s 110m Hurdles, Tyrone Akins lost his title to South Africa’s Antonio Alkana who won the event in 13.43s with the Nigerian athlete settling for Silver in 13.74s. Mohamed Koussi finished 3rd in 13.94s.
Divine Oduduru also shone in his event, winning his semifinal heat with an SB of 20.48s running the second fastest time of the three heats, with Wayde Van Niekerk the only one to run faster at 20.03s to win heat 1.
Oduduru will be hoping he can at least get a place on the podium as barring any unforeseen circumstances, Van Niekerk seems to have the title locked down.
In the women’s 400 Hurdles, Tameka Jameson finished 2nd in heat 2 with a time of 58.17s behind Maureen Jelegat winning the race in 57.63s and Gezelle Magerman 3rd in 58.50s. Nigeria’s Kelechi Nwanaga missed out on a place on the podium, finishing 4th in women’s Javelin with her best throw of 53.45m.
Team Nigeria is currently 3rd on the table, jointly tied with Kenya on four Golds each, however the East Africans have won more Silvers, bu with the curtains falling on Sunday, Nigeria will hope they can add more medals to their tally.