Emmanuel Gyang and Deborah Pam are among Nigeria's top runners competing at the Okpekpe 10km Race.

Winning the men and women’s 5,000m titles on Day 1 of the Nigerian Trials in Sapele was only the first step for Emmanuel Gyang and Deborah Pam. The pair went on to claim the men and women’s 10,000m GOLD medals on Day 2 of the competition at the Sapele Township Stadium in Delta State.

Pam stormed to her second consecutive title of the championship in a time of 36:53.73, finishing ahead of Olamide Oluwaseun (37:25.17) who won the 1st position for a Nigerian female athlete at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon earlier this year. Aderonke Olumudi finished 3rd in 37:48.24.

After his wife set the pace, Gyang went on to do same in the men’s category, successfully executing the 5,000m/10,000m double by posting 31:31.58 in the latter race to dominate once more. Solomon Yilbam was 2nd in 32:05.19 and Daylong Sylvester 3rd with a time of 32:29.71.

Emmanuel Gyang finished ahead of his rivals in the 10,000m.
Emmanuel Gyang finished ahead of his rivals in the 10,000m.

In a chat with Making of Champions, Pam said: “My husband and I planned to win both the 5000m and 10,000m and I am happy we did it. My husband is also my coach and I always do what he tells me to.”

Speaking about how she got into the long distance events, Pam said, “We do not have a track to train on in the place where I live (Plateau State), so we started training on the road and sometimes we go to a secondary school field and do stretches; that’s why we engage in the marathon.”

Joy Davies celebrates her victory in the women's 20km Walk.
Joy Davies celebrates her victory in the women’s 20km Walk.

An interesting story also played out in the 20km Walk, which was the first event on Day 2 of the National Trials. Athlete-coach Bamidele Elegbede (1:47.29) finished 2nd behind his athlete Gbenga Fatoyinbo who won the event in 1:45.59, as long standing favourite Kazeem  Adeyemi had to settle for 3rd place in a time of 1:48.15.

Elegbede’s wards Joy Davies (2:04.17) and Fadekemi Olude (2:04.17) were the Top 2 finishers in the women’s event while Rosemary Julius placed 3rd in 2:19.53.

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the National Sports Festival and the African Athletics Championships, and has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

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