In the past few weeks, we’ve written reviews on how the 2016 Athletics season proved to be one of the most exciting in recent times, with regards to some athletes producing World Record (WR) performances. We also gave a prediction of athletes to watch out for this year.
This time around, our attention will shift back to the Nigerian scene where we take a look at five sprinters we believe are going to have a ground breaking 2017, based on their performance last year. Here we go!
5. Aniekeme Alphonsus
Alphonsus has been one of the most consistent female sprinters within the country in recent years. The 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games 100m Silver medallist has become a notable name among fans after giving out slices of impressive performances, especially at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League meets where she always finished within the Top 3 in her races.
Her status rose within the Nigerian female sprinters ranks at the 2016 D.K. Olukoya Youth and Junior Championships where she clocked a Personal Best (PB) of 11.34s to win her heat, before going on to clinch the title in 11.59s, thus securing her spot on the team to the 2016 World Junior Championships in Poland.
Her PB was ranked seventh fastest going into the age group competition, and was among the Top 10 fastest times in the country.
However, she didn’t put up a good show in Poland as she failed to qualify from her heat due to exhaustion caused by the late arrival of the team in Bydgoszcz. Alphonsus made up for this by taking the 100m title at the National Youth Games in Ilorin, clocking 11.97s to cap off her year.
Her achievements in the past two years haven’t gone unnoticed as she secured an Athletics scholarship to the Oral Roberts University in the US, where she’s expected to begin this year and build on her form.
If exposed to the right environment and facilities by virtue of her scholarship, one can see her setting new PBs. And who knows, the talented sprinter might just be the next Nigerian to take over from sprint queen Blessing Okagbare in a few years.