For the first time on Top Sprinter, Para-athletes were afforded the opportunity of participating in the 2016 edition, with the organisers incorporating some of their events which added more flavour to the competition held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Echoes of Nigeria’s good showing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games still reverberates, and there will still be debates comparing their feats with that of the Olympians.

Having returned from Brazil where she represented Nigeria in the T53/T54 women’s wheelchair 100m, Hannah Babalola graced the Top Sprinter competition and she showed why she is a national athlete, storming to victory with a time of 18.15s.

Babalola had a big lead, and as a result, Nkiruka Okoro who finished 2nd in the race came in at 21.73s. Chinwendu Anoka was 3rd in 23.74s.

(L-R) Okoro, Babalola and Anoka on the podium to receive their awards.
(L-R) Okoro, Babalola and Anoka all smiles as they mount the podium to receive their awards.

In the women’s T11/13 (Partially & Totally Blind) 100m, Sulieman Taiwo aided by her guard Christopher Obidike won the race in 13.69s, with Funmilayo Olasunkanmi/Timothy Ojo (Guard) 2nd in 14.58s, and Queen Oloye/Okechukwu Onochie(Guard) 3rd in 16.55s.

Top three finishers in the men's T11/T13 100m event
Top three finishers in the men’s T11/T13 100m event.

In the men’s T11/T13 category, Olamilekan Lawanson/Stephen Oyelakin (Guard) won the race in 12.36s with Taofeek Tijani/Tunji Baale (Guard) 2nd in 12.47s and Samuel Ige/Tunde Ogunmayin (Guard) 3rd in 12.71s.

While in the 100m Deaf men final, Nurudeen Badmus won with a time of 11.87s, with Essience Udoh placing 2nd in 11.93s and Effiong Aniekan finishing 3rd with a time of 11.94s.

There were other Para-events on Day 2 of Top Sprinter, with some athletes competing in the women’s F40 Shot Put event.

Deborah Agege (Centre), Abigeal Menu (Left) and Bolanle Ojo (Right) finished on the podium in the women's F40 Shot put Para-Athletics event.
Deborah Agege (Centre), Abigeal Menu (Left) and Bolanle Ojo (Right) finished on the podium in the women’s F40 Shot put Para-Athletics event.

Lauritta Onye won GOLD for Nigeria in the F40 event at the Rio Paralympics, setting a World Record in the process.

Athletics coverage was a discovery, having to move away from regularly writing about Football. Although it was initially daunting, but now being an authority in it makes the past effort worthwhile. From travelling on the same international flight with Nigerian athletes, to knowing you could easily interview: World Record holder Tobi Amusan, then Ese Brume, I have cut my teeth in this beat earning the trust of Athletics sources. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at Ringier media Nigeria, Chris is a Senior Sports writer, Photographer & Community manager at Making of Champions.


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