Making of Champions (MoC) teenage sensation Joy Udo-Gabriel killed two birds with a single stone as she hit the qualifying standards of the forthcoming African U-20 Championships in both the 100m and 200m on Saturday.
She achieved this rare feat at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) / Dynamic Sporting Solutions Track and Field Meet held at the National Stadium in Abuja. It was a memorable outing for the ARCO-sponsored sprinter who turned 18 a day before the competition, as her brilliant form saw her upstage her older counterparts at the one-day meet.
Udo-Gabriel opened her competition in Heat 2 of the women’s 100m, swiftly shooting out of the blocks to gain an edge over national sprinters Mercy Ntia-Obong and Blessing Adiakrehwa who eventually finished in times of 11.95s and 12.09s respectively.
The MoC athlete proved too hot to handle as she stormed to victory in a Personal Best (PB) of 11.65s to shatter her former mark of 11.87s, set at the AFN Golden League in Akure last year. Her time was also the second fastest across all heats.
The stage was set for an explosive final and Udo-Gabriel took off again in a bid to replicate her fantastic performance in the heats. Nevertheless, she lost her rhythm towards the end of the race, which worked to Isoken Igbinosun’s favour, with the latter winning the race in 11.69s. Udo-Gabriel followed in a time of 11.73s, while Cecilia Francis of Lagos State placed 3rd in 11.74s.
Her mark of 11.65s surpasses the qualifying mark for the forthcoming Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) U-20 Championships billed to hold towards the end of June in Algeria, and pegged at 12.14s.
She thereafter competed in Heat 3 of the women’s 200m which turned out to be a replication of the 100m final as Igbinosun took the lead once again in a time of 23.63s, while Udo-Gabriel placed 2nd with a PB of 24.26s, bettering the qualifying standard of 24.74s and improving on her previous mark of 25.19s. Francis finished 3rd in 24.36s.
Thanks to Eroton E & P for sponsoring the MoC Media Team of Sports Writers, Videographers & Photographers to cover the 2017 AFN/Dynamic Solutions Meet in Abuja!