At least four athletes won double GOLD medals at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN)/ Making of Champions (MoC) National Youth and Junior Championships staged at the National Stadium in Abuja between June 16 and 17.
The two-day championship, which replaced the annual D.K Olukoya National Youth and Junior Championships, served as the Nigerian Trials for the forthcoming African U-20 Championships in Algeria, IAAF World Youth Championships in Kenya, and Commonwealth Youth Games billed to hold in the Bahamas.
Rosemary Chukwuma of Kids & Play was one of the standout athletes at the meeting. She won the very first final of the championship, racing to victory in the Youth Girls 100m in a time of 11.93s to finish ahead of teammate Hope Joshua, and MoC’s Chiamaka Egbochinam.
She then completed the double, holding off Knowledge Omovoh to win the Youth Girls 200m in 24.53s.
Meanwhile, Gershon Omubo also accomplished the same feat in the Youth category of the Boys’ 100m and 200m. He claimed the 100m title, and was followed by Ovie Amano, while MoC’s Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi placed 3rd.
Omubo then secured a brace by storming to victory in the 200m with a time of 21.93s to finish ahead of Amano once more (22.44s), and Nsikak Okon (22.54s).
Omovoh seemed to have the Youth Girls 400m final in the bag, but Glory Patrick finished strongly to take the win in 54.80s, as Omovoh followed.
Nsikak Okon was the one to beat in the Youth Boys 400m final which he won in 48.90s, with Olaoluwa Obashola and Donatus Oghenekeno coming 2nd and 3rd in 50.04s and 50.60s respectively.
The Junior category of the women’s 100m was keenly contested, but experience took the day as defending champion Aniekeme Alphonsus first crossed the finishing line in 11.74s to beat MoC’s Joy Udo Gabriel (11.75s) and Blessing Ogundiran (12.13s).
Unlike in 2016 when the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) triple medallist pulled out of the 200m at the National Youth and Junior Championships due to injury, she went for the double this time around and secured a convincing victory over Udo-Gabriel once again in the 200m, clocking a time of 23.83s.
Itsekiri Usheoritse already positioned himself as the man to beat in the men’s 100m Junior final after racing to a Personal Best (PB) of 10.43s in the heats the previous day. Buoyed on by the stiff competition from defending champion Raymond Ekevwo (10.71s) and MoC’s Jeremiah Jakpa (10.81s), he raced to the title in a time of 10.60s.
Nevertheless, Usheoritse was stopped from striking GOLD in the 200m by Prosper Ogbonna who clocked 21.21s, settling instead for 2nd in 21.64s, while MoC’s Ese Oguma finished in 3rd place in 22.21s.
Ogbonna extended his winning streak to the 400m which he won ahead of the duo of Bamidele Emmanuel (46.85s) and Adewale Sikiru (47.49s), after setting a superior mark of 46.56s.
In the women’s 400m race, University of Port Harcourt’s Peace Nwalehia claimed the title in 54.59s, with MoC’s Glory Nyenke coming 2nd in 55.88s, while Rita Odigbo settled for 3rd in 55.90s.
The Top 3 finishers in the Junior category of the men’s 1500m were Barnabas Genesis (4:23.72), Stanley Opara (4:27.41) and Jonathan Ezra (4:30.09).
Precious Ojeikere emerged winner of the Junior category of the 110 Hurdles in 14.04s, as Wisdom Musa won the Youth category in 14.49s.
Abasiono Akpan won the women’s 400m Hurdles in 61.02s, while Joy Abu and Fegor Clifford placed 2nd and 3rd in 61.15s and 61.89s respectively. Prior Ochonogor won the men’s race in 52.73s, while David Olowookere (53.27s) and Muhammed Ismail (54.11s) followed.
Isaac Odugbesan won the men’s Shot Put with a mark of 17.17m, while Esther Isa claimed the women’s Junior High Jump title with a mark if 1.75m.