Producing one of the most dominant displays at this National Sports Festival (NSF) so far, Nse Uko Imaobong of Akwa Ibom sped to victory in the women’s 400m to highlight the third day of the Athletics event taking place at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Abuja.
After a relatively cautious first half, the National Youth Games (NYG) 400m Champion left the field gasping over the second as from the top bend, she sped past Praise Idamadudu (Delta) and Folashade Abugan (Bayelsa), and with 10m to go, she peeled past African Championships Bronze medallist Yinka Ajayi (Delta), clocking a new Personal Best (PB) of 52.36s.
“Actually, I didn’t believe that i could be the Champion of the Festival of 2018, but I thank God for giving me the grace to be able to win the race. In 2019, I would like to run 50s or 51s in competitions.”
The most remarkable thing about her performance at this festival was the fact that she shaved 3.39s from her previous PB, which she set at the NYG in September as she had earlier run 53.25s in the semis yesterday. Ajayi was 2nd in 52.46s, with Idamadudu clocking 53.62s for Bronze.
In the men’s final, Orukpe Erayokan showed the cheering crowd that his heats and semi-final performances were no fluke as the Rivers State athlete led from gun-to-tape, winning in a Season’s Best (SB) of 46.32s. Shedrack Akpeki of Akwa Ibom ran a new PB of 46.78s to win Silver, with Emmanuel Ojeli of Lagos State settling for Bronze in 47.03s.
Abejoye Oyeniyi of Rivers State ran the fastest time of the two heats in the men’s 110m Hurdles, racing to a time of 14.05s. His closest competitor on the local scene, Martins Ogieriakhi followed suit in the second heat as he won in 14.20s.
Donning the blue and red kit of Team Delta, Augustine Nwoye broke the NSF Record of Chima Ugwu in the Discus throw, erasing the old mark of 54.34m, which he set 12 years ago at the Gateway Games, replacing it with a 55.23m throw.
Although the mark was just 23cm shy of his PB which he set in Akure in 2014, the thrower would surely take solace in the fact that he ends the year on a great note, having missed out on the party to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. Kenechukwu Ezeofor of Rivers took Silver with a 49.51m throw, while Clement Onjeme was 3rd with a mark of 45.10m.
In the women’s Javelin, Kelechi Nwanaga continued her dominance of the event on the local scene, winning GOLD for Team Delta as she threw a distance of 48.45m. Hannah Kemele of Anambra took home Silver, with Priscilla Zelter of Benue settling for the Bronze medal.