So interesting was the men’s 200m final that it took over 20 minutes for Emmanuel Arowolo to realize that he is the new champion, after all three top finishers looked to have dipped the same time on the line at the just concluded 2017 National Championships.
It was a keenly contested race, that either of Arowolo, Tega Odele or MoC’s Jerry Jakpa could have won. However Arowolo would be delighted having crossed the line in 21.16s to take the win, and Odele coming in 2nd in 21.19s with Jakpa 3rd in 21.21s.
This is Arowolo’s first senior title, coming after he recently clocked a new Personal Best of 20.84s at a meet held in Cameroon last month. With his recent progression, he would be one of the male athletes to watch out for in 2018.
In the women’s 200m, Maria Thompson Omokwe ran a good race to pip Isoken Igbinosun and win in 23.71s. Igbinosun finished 2nd in 23.90s, while Mercy Ntia Obong came in 3rd with a time of 24.02s.
Meanwhile in the women’s 400m final, Patience Okon George ran another Season’s Best (SB) of 51.06s as she retained her title. In fact it is the third consecutive title she will be winning since 2015, and she showed how determined she was going by the way she came out of the block.
Okon George quickly closed the gap on Yinka Ajayi who was in lane 6, and then went into the lead which she held on to win. Ajayi on her part finished 2nd and equalled her previous Personal Best of 51.57s, while Glory Nathaniel ran a good race from lane 1 to finish 3rd in 52.24s.
In the men’s 400m, Samson Nathaniel finally got to win the title he so craved for, racing to a time of 46.10s. Although Nathaniel was not as explosive as he would have wanted, but he was hardly troubled as he came through to win. Bamidele Emmanuel finished 2nd in 46.57s while Prosper Ogbonna was 3rd in 46.63s.
Men’s 400m Hurdles saw Timothy Emoghene win his first title in 52.17s. Prior Ochonogor finished 2nd in 52.76s while Gbenga Bakre was 3rd with a time of 53.36s .
One of the other standout athletes on the last day was Emmanuel Gyang who scooped his 2nd GOLD of the Championships winning the men’s 10,000m. Gyang won the title with a time of 29:15.97 beating Stephen Joshua who was 2nd in 29:55.98 and Gideon Goyet who was 3rd in 30:17.17
Esther Isah showed that she has what it takes to succeed Doreen Amata, adding to her Junior High Jump title with victory in the senior where she scaled a height of 1.75m. It was the same mark scaled by Grace Anigbata who finished 2nd while Esiepkpe jumped 1.68m to finish 3rd.
In the relays, three teams from the Para-military: Civil Defence, Customs and Police were the dominant teams in the races.
Team Civil Defence executed a good race in the men’s 4x100m, with Tega Odele handing over the baton to Itsekiri Usheoritse who handed it Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Harry Chukwudike bringing home the baton in 40.12s. Team Custom finished 2nd in 40.31s and Police coming 3rd with a time of 41.10s.
In the women’s 4x100m, Customs were the best team as they came from lane 1, with Ntia Obong anchoring them to victory in 45.04s. Civil Defence finished 2nd in 45.64s and Police 3rd in 46.21s. Team MoC quartet of Joy Udo Gabriel, Glory Nyenke, Moyo Badejo & Chiamaka Egbochinam finished 4th in 46.21s
Salihu came back in the 4x400m to help Customs win with a time of 3:12.22, while Team Lagos was 2nd with a time of 3:13.39 and Police was 3rd in 3:13.38.
With the Warri Relays coming up next weekend and as much as three countries expected to come and participate, Nigeria could still have a chance of running the qualifying time for the World Championships in either of the 4x100m relay.