Top Sprinter Lagos Relays 2016 kicked off on a high note for Team Making of Champions (MoC) as two of its athletes, Jeremiah Jakpa and Joy Udo-Gabriel raced to the men and women’s 100m titles in the Junior Category on Day 1 of competition.
Incidentally, both athletes are beneficiaries of MoC’s Student-Athlete Scholarship and are currently being sponsored by Oil and Gas company, ARCO Group in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Also, the pair was discovered at the 2015 Top Sprinter Auditions in Benin. Furthermore, both sprinters are now being trained by MoC’s Head Coach in Lagos and Olympic medallist, Deji Aliu.
Udo-Gabriel emerged the first medallist at Top Sprinter Lagos Relays 2016, maintaining her unbeaten run at the competition to exert revenge from her rivals from 2015, stopping the clock at 12.14s to win the title ahead of Ruth Usoro (12.66s) and Blessing Ogundiran (12.68s).
It is interesting to note that Udo-Gabriel finished 4th in the event last year, narrowly missing out on a podium placement as Chiamaka Egbochinam, Usoro and Ogundiran all finished ahead of her at the 2015 Lagos Finals. Nevertheless, the 17-year old had the last laugh at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Thursday.
In a chat with MoC following her victory, an excited Udo-Gabriel said: “I’m very happy to have won my race because this is a dream come true for me. Last year I wasn’t as confident, and I hadn’t trained as much as I did this year. But things are different now: I’ve been working and training very hard for this competition.”
Meanwhile it was a 1-2 for MoC in the men’s 100m junior race as Jakpa outclassed the rest of the field, pulling away and spreading his arms in triumph as he crossed the finishing line to win his first title for the club, taking the race in 11.05s as teammate Onengi Ikoko followed in 11.2s, while Samuel Babajide finished 3rd in 11.33s.
It was an impressive result for Jakpa who finished 5th in Benin last year where he competed in with the seniors. The 18-year old, who comfortably won his heat earlier in the day, said:
“I’m really happy with my performance here and pleased to win my first title for MoC. This is just like a Continuous Assessment for me because my main target is the 2017 Athletics season. I’m hoping to repeat the same feat in the 200m and 4x100m relay.”
In the Youth category, Vivian Nnenna Akunna was the one to beat in the Girls’ 100m where she clocked 13.13s to set the pace. Victory Odiphiri (13.42s) and Blossom Akpedeye (13.45s) placed 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Destiny Majemite (11.44s) upstaged favourite Oriyomi Akala (11.45s) to claim the win in the Boys’ 100m. Agboba Innocent (11.56s) finished 3rd in the race, and was followed by Bowotoluwa Egbeyemi who clocked a time of 11.58s.