National Record (NR) holder in the women’s Hammer throw, Queen Obisesan was the standout performer on Day 1 of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League held at the University of Port Harcourt Sports Complex in Rivers State on Saturday, January 27th.
Obisesan who is the National Champion in the event, erased her former NR of 63.79m set in 2013 in Ilorin, replacing it with a superior mark of 65.01m, which is superior to the ‘B’ standard of the Commonwealth Games pegged at 61.70m. The ‘A’ standard of the women’s Hammer event is 67.30m.
Obisesan who was full of smiles at her accomplishment, says she is targeting a podium finish at the Commonwealth Games set to hold in Australia in April.
Meanwhile Mercy Ntia-Obong raced to victory in the women’s 100m Final A, slightly edging Making of Champions (MoC) Joy Udo Gabriel to win in 11.75s (unofficial), while Rosemary Chukwuma settled for 3rd place.
The Cross River athlete capitalized on the absence of the duo of Isoken Igbinosun and Agnes Osazuwa who both won their heats but Did Not Start (DNS) in the final, to make her mark. Meanwhile Blessing Ogundiran won the B Final, beating Peace Uko to win in 11.97s (unofficial).
Those who were expecting a mouthwatering clash in the men’s 100m final were disappointed as the event didn’t hold. Enoch Adegoke had won Heat 1 ahead of Tega Odele, while Heat 2 was won by MoC’s Jerry Jakpa. Former National Champion Obinna Metu eased through to win Heat 3.
The likes of Harry Chukwudike, Idjesa Uruemu, Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Usheoritse Itsekiri also won their respective heats, setting up an interesting encounter in the final, with the finalists being drawn in Finals A and B.
However, after it was pointed out that it was unfair to select the finals based solely on hand-timing in the heats, Finals A and B were re-drawn with the heats winners and the next 8 fastest times respectively. Unfortunately, the men’s 100m finals were then inexplicably cancelled.
That notwithstanding, the women’s 400m final is expected to provide one of the highlights of the Day 2 of the competition. It was a close contest in Heat 1 of the women’s 400m where Oluwakemi Francis ran the race of her life to out-dip Folasade Abugan in a time of 54.54s (unofficial).
Yinka Ajayi stormed to a Season’s Best (SB) of 53.08s to win Heat 2 while Patience Okon George was the one to beat in the Heat 3, laying down the marker with an SB and overall fastest time of 52.28s to finish ahead of MoC’s Glory Nyenke, while Glory Nathaniel closed the gap on Praise Idamadudu after the first curve and took command of the race to win Heat 4 in 53.11s.
Samson Nathaniel opened his season with a win, taking Heat 1 of the men’s 400m in 47.13s, while Adeyemi Sikiru went on to win his heat in 48.20s. Daniel Atilaya, Isah Salihu, Nsikan Francis, Ayodeji Akinkuowo and Afeez Abdulrahman also won their respective heats in the event.
David Olowokeere applied pressure on Henry Okorie in the men’s 400m Hurdles, but it was the latter who found more speed after the 10th hurdle to win in 52.57s, while Rita Ossai dominated the women’s event.
*The Official results will be published as soon as they are available.