It was a record-breaking championship for the Nigerian duo of Aniekeme Alphonsus and Mercy Abire who dominated their respective events to each win three titles at the 2018 Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Championship held at the ONEOK Sports Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from May 10th to 12th.

The pair competed for their school, Oral Roberts University (ORU), and it was Abire who set the pace on Day 2 of the championship where she leapt to a School Record (SR) in the women’s Long Jump barely two weeks after breaking the previous mark of 6.29m set by Amber Canidy in 2002, to set a new record of 6.43m (+2.4). That feat earned her the Summit League Athlete of the Week for the third time this season.

This time around, she claimed victory with a leap of 6.50m (+2.8) to become the first Golden Eagle to win the Outdoor League title in the women’s Long Jump since 2008, earning 10 points for her school in the process.

On Day 3, she went on to claim her second GOLD of the championship when she leapt to a Personal Best (PB) of 13.10m in the Triple Jump to finish ahead of the rest of the field.

Nigerian Champion in the women’s 100m, Aniekeme Alphonsus was in imperious form on Day 3 as she bettered ORU’s former record of 11.36s (+5.8) which she set last month at the John McDonnell Invitational, replacing it with a time of 11.25s (+3.1) in the final. Abire also competed in the same race where she finished 6th in a time of 11.92s.

Having concluded the 100m, Alphonsus then anchored the Golden Eagles to a win in the women’s 4x100m, with Abire running the first leg. The team clocked a time of 45.48s to finish ahead of South Dakota and North Dakota State.

Not done with winning titles, the Nigerian sprinter then stormed to her third GOLD medal of the Championship, winning the women’s 200m final, also with a wind-aided time of 23.54s (+4.6). She had earlier clocked 23.43s in the preliminaries held the previous day.

Victor Peka also competed in the final of the men’s 100m and 200m, clocking times of 10.86s (2.0) and 21.39s (+2.5) to finish 8th and 6th respectively. He went on to win a Bronze medal with the men’s 4x100m squad which finished behind South Dakota State and South Dakota.

ORU’s male and female teams were ranked 4th and 3rd respectively in the Summit League at the end of 21 events.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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