The 2018 National U-20 Trials was a good outing for Making of Champions (MoC) athletes as most of them raced to Personal Bests (PB) in their respective events at the two-day competition, which was held at the Delta State Polytechnic in Ozoro on 7th & 8th of June.

Top on the list is Commonwealth Games 4x100m Bronze medallist Joy Udo-Gabriel who emerged Junior Champion in the women’s 100m after cruising to victory in the women’s 100m final in 11.56s to finish ahead of Kids and Play’s Rosemary Chukwuma (11.71s), and Blessing Ogundiran (11.78s) of Team Blessed.

ARCO-sponsored Udo-Gabriel maintained an unbeaten run in the 100m as she raced down the home straight to cross the line in 11.66s – the overall fastest time in the heats, on Day 1. She then won her semifinal race in a time of 11.61s, which was also the fastest time in the semis, later that day.

Joy Udo-Gabriel won the 2018 National Junior (U20) 100m Title, making her the Fastest Girl in Nigeria!

Having claimed the 100m title on Day 2 of the competition, the 19-year old then focused on the 200m. She won her first race in the event with the overall fastest time of 24.40s, before posting a time of 24.35s in the final to finish 2nd behind Marvelous Asemota who also clocked the same time to take the win.

Another MoC athlete who finished Top 3 in his event was 17-year old Favour Ekpekpe who finished 3rd in the Youth category of the boys’ 200m on Friday with a time of 22.15s. The race was won by Okoro Iruoghene in 21.83s, while Akintola Alaba followed in 21.95s.

Earlier in the day, Ekpekpe had clocked the overall fastest time of 21.78s in the men’s 200m where he smashed his previous Personal Best (PB), breaking 22s for the first time in his career. He also competed in the men’s 100m heats on Day 1 of the competition.

Having battled with breaking the 12s barrier in the 100m for some time now, Chiamaka Egbochinam finally broke the jinx on Day 1 of the National U-20 Trials while competing in the heats of the women’s 100m.

The Shell-sponsored athlete was drawn in Heat 3 and was inspired to a new PB and the first sub-12s run of her career while chasing Marvelous Asemota who took the race in 11.94s, while Egbochinam followed with 11.95s. Not done with setting PBs, Egbochinam then lowered her time to 11.88s in the semis, finishing 4th and qualifying for the final where she placed 5th in 11.92s.

Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi, who is being sponsored by NDWestern Limited, was not left out of the PB as he bettered his PBs in the 100m and 200m respectively.

The 18-year old who is MoC’s first Athlete at the University of Ibadan, finished 2nd in his heat, before settling for 3rd in the semis in 10.81s, narrowly missing a place in the final despite improving on his former PB. He then lowered his 200m PB of 22.58s when he placed 2nd in his 200m Heat in 22.34s, before returning 22.67s in the Final.

It was an impressive outing for 16-year old Mercy Umoibang who was discovered at the 2016 Heritage Bank Skoolimpics in Lagos while competing for her school. The National U-20 Trials is the first real competition the talented teenager is participating in, but she refused to be intimidated as she ran a PB of 59.76s in the women’s 400m heats where she finished 4th.

A day later, she raced in the final of the Youth category of the 400m where she erased her mark, setting a new PB of 57.49s to place 5th, much to her delight. Umoibang’s younger sister Maria also made her debut at the National U-20 Trials, and the 13-year old clocked a PB of 13.37s in Heat 3.

Also competing in the women’s 400m were the duo of Blessing Oladoye and Blessing Obarierhu. Oladoye was 4th in Heat 1 where she set a PB of 58.08s, while teammate Obarierhu finished 3rd in Heat 3 with 57.77s. In the final, the Obarierhu settled for 6th (57.74s), while Oladoye placed 7th (58.62s).


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