Day 1 of the inaugural Making of Champions (MoC) Grand Prix and Relays was filled with a lot of thrills and frills as the competition took center stage at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, with both Emmanuel Arowolo and Mercy Ntia-Obong emerging stand out performers after racing to victories in the men and women’s 100m finals respectively.

Arowolo proved that he is as good a 100m runner as he is in the 200m when he raced to a win the men’s 100m. However, it must be said that the win must have drained every drop of sweat in his body as he was pushed all the way to the finish line by MoC’s Jerry Jakpa.

Jerry Jakpa and Emmanuel dipping at the finish line in the men’s 100m Final (A)

In the end, both athletes were awarded the same time of 10.25s (+2.3m/s), with Arowolo being handed victory after the photo-finish was used to separate them. Usheoritse Itsekiri placed 3rd in a time of 10.36s.

On Ntia-Obong’s part, she didn’t have to wait for long to know the result of her race. Donning a new hairstyle, the athlete representing Customs, made up for missing out on Nigeria’s Commonwealth Games team in April, winning the women’s 100m race in a time of 11.24s.

Mercy Ntia-Obong won the women’s 100m race.

If not for the wind reading (+2.1 m/s), Ntia-Obong’s time would have been the fastest run by any home-based athlete in recent times. Newly crowned National Junior Champion, Joy Udo-Gabriel of MoC, placed 2nd in the race in 11.48s, while Team Blessed’s Blessing Ogundiran was 3rd in 11.63s.

The men and women’s B Final races were won by Isah Salihu (10.64s) and Magaret Bolufawi (11.93) respectively.

Isah Salihu won the men’s B Final.

It was a day to forget for David Olowookere in the men’s 400m Hurdles final as he clipped the last hurdle in the race, paving the way for Gbenga Bakare to win in a time 53.79s. Ismail Muhammed was 2nd in 53.88s, while Christian Martins placed 3rd in 56.89s.

As expected, National Champion in the women’s 400m Hurdles, Glory Nathaniel was the odds-on favorite to win the race. She didn’t disappoint as she stopped the clock in a time of 57.56s. Joy Abu (59.60s) and Kemi Francis (61.37s) placed 2nd and 3rd in the race. Esther Akinde won the B final in 63.74s.

Hamid Sambo proved his class once again as he held off competition from Adegoke Ogunseye to win the men’s 800m race. He raced to a time of 1:52.82, with Ogunseye coming 2nd in 1:53.26. Sadiq Adebisi was 3rd in 1:54.47.

Yinka Bamtefa dominated the women’s category of the 800m as she claimed victory in a time of 2:08.84. Hawawu Haruna (2:09.26) and Aminat Alabi (2:09.47) were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Yinka Bantefa won the women’s 800m race.

Reigning National Champion in the men’s 400m, Samson Nathaniel clocked the overall fastest in the men’s 400m heats as he won his race in a time of 46.91s, while Yinka Ajayi was the overall fastest in the women’s race, clocking a time of 53.64s. The final comes up on Day 2 of the competition.

Field Events

National Record holder in the women’s Hammer throw, Queen Obisesan was the standout performer in the event has she threw a distance of 63.70m to take the win. Omizi Sofiat (53.51) and Daramola Feyisayo (51.53) came through in 2nd and 3rd.

Queen Obisesan emerged victorious in the women’s Hammer Throw

The men’s Shot Put was won by Lucky Laju with his best throw of 13.30m enough to earn him victory.

In the qualifiers for the men’s Long Jump final, Arinze Benjamin leaped the farthest in both Pool A and B. He was the only athlete to Jump above 7 meters, with his best jump recorded at 7.65m.

The 1st MoC Grand Prix and Relays, which is sponsored by Sports Betting Company, Baba Ijebu, is the first competition for Senior/Elite Athletes in Nigeria since the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League in Abuja in March, prior to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.

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There are very few things in life that make me happy, but talking and writing Sports has to be at the top. I honed my broadcasting skills at the University of Lagos Radio Station and have free-lanced for platforms like Top Radio and Superscreen TV amongst others. Deji loves running commentaries on Football matches and Athletics, and is now a Junior Sports Writer at Making of Champions. He hopes to become a Sports Agent in the future.

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