Seye Ogunlewe certainly has no plans of relinquishing his 100m crown anytime soon! The sprinter demonstrated this by racing to a third consecutive title, living up to his tag of ‘Nigeria’s fastest man’ on Friday – Day 2 of the ongoing All Nigeria Track and Field Championships in Abuja.
The 25-year old maintained an unbeaten run in the course of the championship, winning his heat on Thursday in 10.39s, before dominating his semifinal race in 10.40s.
Most fans anticipated an explosive race, considering that the lineup consisted of the more experienced duo of Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Obinna Metu – former national champions in the event. Also joining them were the likes of Harry Chukwudike, Emmanuel Arowolo and Junior Champion Usheoritse Itsekiri.
Perhaps in a bid to upstage his seniors, Itsekiri false started, but the race wasn’t stopped, and Ogunlewe went on to win GOLD in a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.30s, with Metu following in 10.36s, while Harry Chukwudike was delighted with his 3rd place finish, having returned a time of 10.44s. Egwero was 4th in 10.50s.
Many had expected the race to be faster, seeing that no male Nigerian sprinter has qualified for the forthcoming IAAF World Championships holding in London next month. To achieve this, Ogunlewe would need to equal his Personal Best (PB) of 10.12s, which incidentally, is the entry standard of the men’s 100m.
Soudi Hamadjam added the 800m title to the GOLD medal he won in the 1500m on Thursday, and will be hoping to make it a hat trick of titles when he competes in the 3000m Steeplechase on Saturday, the final day of the Nigerian Trials. Eze Anayo and Mohamed Isiyaku claimed Silver and Bronze respectively.
Abike Egbeniyi made sure her presence was felt in the women’s 800m final which she dominated effortlessly, storming to the national title in a time of 2:06.52. She was followed by Agber Shimenenge (2:09.69) and Oluchi Offorma (2:10.48).
Emmanuel Gyang put up a successful title defence in the men’s 5000m which he won in 14:40.97 to finish ahead of Stephen Joshua (14:46.76) and Williams Kefas (14:55.28).
Having dominated the women’s 5000m the previous day, Deborah Pam replicated the same feat in the 10,000m on Friday, taking GOLD in 36:47.03. Elizabeth Nuhu claimed Silver with a time of 37:18.85, with Hudung Gyang settling for Bronze in 38:08.18.
Grace Ayemoba upstaged Efe Favour (14.33s) and Kemi Francis (14.34s) in the women’s 100m Hurdles, storming to victory in 13.86s.
The men’s 110 Hurdles was more dramatic and very close, but it was Martins Ogieriakhi who eventually stole the show. Having been overshadowed by the exploits of his foreign-based counterparts in recent years, the hurdler held his own, proving that he had indeed come of age.
Ogieriakhi claimed his first national title in a time of 13.99s, while Oyeniyi Abejoye improved on his 3rd place finish from last year, upgrading to 2nd position, while Bashiru Abdullahi won the Bronze medal in 14.11s.
Theddus Okpara retained his High Jump crown with a clearance of 2.05m, finishing ahead of Obiora Arinze and Oyedele Cyprian who both recorded marks of 2.00m.
2015 African Games Champion Kelechi Nwanaga claimed her third successive title in the women’s Javelin throw which she won with a distance of 53.04m. Priscilla Zever and Kasie Ugeh won Silver and Bronze respectively.
The men’s Hammer throw was dominated by Olawale Olatunji who struck GOLD with a distance of 46.44m. Baba Ibrahim scooped the Silver medal with his throw of 45.93m, while Monsuru Ganiyu (44.20m) finished in 3rd place.
The men’s 400m final is set to be one of the major events holding on Saturday, the final day of the three-day competition. Topping the list of qualifiers ahead of the final is Samson Nathaniel who clocked 46.17s to win Semifinal 1.
Qualifying from the same heat are Noah Akwu (47.17s), Atanda Akindele (47.31s), Sikiru Adeyemi (47.79s) and Afeez Abdulrahman. Prosper Ogbonna (46.66s), Bamidele Emmanuel (46.76s) and Isah Salihu (47.63s) will join them in the final from Semifinal 2.
The women’s 200m will be concluded on Saturday, and running in the final are Isoken Igbinosun (23.73s), former champion Praise Idamadudu (24.14s), Moyosore Badejo (24.64s), Maria Thompson (23.77s), Aniekeme Alphonsus (23.91s), Glory Nyenke (24.72ss), Mercy Ntia-Obong (24.45s) and Hope Joshua (25.13s).
Arowolo won Heat 1 of the men’s 200m where he clocked 21.19s to finish ahead of Thankgod Igube (21.54s) and Eseroghene Oguma (22.05s). Metu dominated Heat 2 in 20.99s, as Funmilola Badewa (21.57s) and Segun Akhigbe (22.16s) followed. Olisakwe Chukwudi won Heat 3, while Egwero took Heat 4 in 21.23s. The final heat was won by Abiola Soyemi (21.78s).