Rio 2016, 2016 AAC, Akure Golden League
An exhausted Patience Okon George after her 400m race.

Women’s 400m National Champion, Patience Okon George has got her 2017 season underway, emerging victorious at the Grenada Invitational with a Season’s Best (SB) of 52.26s held last weekend.

Okon George who competed in the A Final, ran the fastest time in both the A & B finals to top the overall standings, with USA’s Jessica Beard coming in 2nd in 52.41s ahead of countrywoman Robin Reynolds who was 3rd in 52.72s, while Jamaica’s Christine Day clocked 52.81s to finish 4th.

Although Okon George’s time is still below the World Championships qualifying mark of 52.10s, considering that this is her first race of the year, she will be very confident that she can run below that time and qualify to be in London when the competition commences in August.

Other Nigerian athletes who competed in the Caribbean country were; Oliver Ekpone who raced to a time of 23.28s in the 200m B final to narrowly finish behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Semoy Hackett who won in 23.26s.

Nigerian High Jump record holder, Doreen Amata cleared a height of 1.82m to place 4th in her event, with St. Lucia’s Lavern Spencer winning with a mark of 1.88m.

Also in action was quarter-miler Orukpe Erayokan who clocked an SB of 47.29s to place 6th in the men’s 400m B Final.

Meanwhile in the US, some athletes also gave impressive performances over the weekend with the most dominant being Oghenekpobo Efekoro in the men’s Shot Put. Efekoro threw a Personal Best (PB) of 20.39m in Virginia, which interestingly is the first time he surpasses the 20m mark, which could see him rise as high as number 11 in the world ranking, pending ratification by IAAF.

In another meet, men’s Shot Put National Record holder, Stephen Mozia finished 3rd in his 2017 outdoor debut in Knoxville, throwing an SB of 19.50m at the Tennessee Relays.

Mozia, who has a PB of 21.76m set in 2016, will be aiming to massively improve on his season opener in the coming weeks, if he’s to make an appearance in the British capital.

In the men’s 400m Hurdles, Obokhare Ikpefan also clocked an SB of 50.36s for the win at the Baton Rouge’s meet in Los Angeles, which now ties him joint 31st on the IAAF world list this year.

These are good performances by the athletes with the season just few weeks old, and with the World Championships still to come in August, we can expect much more improved performances in the coming weeks.

Funmi Fameso is a Junior Sports Writer at Making of Champions. She is a 2012 Graduate of Lagos State University, where she obtained a BSc in Microbiology. She worked as a Health Centre Laboratory Assistant during her NYSC year and since then she has worked as a Junior Sports Writer for her church’s youth magazine, Kingsword Youth Club Magazine. It was watching the Sydney 2000 Olympics that ignited her passion of sports, most especially Athletics. Sports means three things to her: Passion, Hard Work and Dedication!


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