There were many highlights on Day 1 of the African Games Athletics Trials held at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019, with several athletes setting Personal Bests (PB) on the day.

National Sports Festival (NSF) women’s Discus Champion, Princess Kara improved on her former PB of 50.04m set in Abidjan, extending the distance to a new lifetime best of 50.57m to dominate the event, underlining her status as the woman to beat on the home front as far as the women’s Discus is concerned.

Kara has already surpassed the entry standard for the African Games which is 48.00m, and could not hide her excitement at surpassing the 50m mark.

Fellow Delta athlete Best Erhire was also impressive on Tuesday when he sailed past his former PB of 2.08m, clearing the bar at 2.10m to win the men’s High Jump. Although he is yet to meet the Games qualifying standard of 2.12m, it just looks like a matter of time before the jumper meets his target, having failed all three attempts at that height on Day 1.

Rosemary Chukwuma continued her winning streak in 2019 as she came from behind to beat Joy Udo-Gabriel on the line, winning the women’s 100m title with a time of 11.53s. Udo-Gabriel was 2nd in 11.56s, with Blessing Ogundiran finishing 3rd in the race with a Season’s Best (SB) of 11.64s.

Although he came to the Abuja as the overwhelming favourite, Enoch Adegoke copped an injury in the semis and ran a cautious race in the final, with Emmanuel Arowolo emerging as winner of the men’s 100m, pulling clear of Adegoke and Alaba Akintola to win with a time of 10.43s. Alaba and Adegoke both clocked an identical time of 10.48s to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Rose Akusho secured the first victory of the day when she won the women’s 10,000m title with a time of 36.16.11.

Patience Okon-George made her first appearance in the 400m this season, running a dominant race to win with an SB of 52.98s as Making of Champions (MoC) and ReelFruit’s Blessing Oladoye was 2nd in 55.21s, with Rita Odigbo 3rd in 56.16s. Favour Ofili won the second 400m heat, setting up an exciting clash in the final.

In the men’s 400m, just as he did at the 2nd MoC Grand Prix, Sikiru Adeyemi raced to the overall fastest time in the men’s 400m heats, clocking a new PB of 46.29s to win Heat 3 ahead of Daniel Atinaya who also ran a new PB of 46.60s to finish 2nd. Shedrack Akpeki was 3rd in the race in 46.75s.

Samson Nathaniel raced to an SB of 46.44s in Heat 4, with Nsikak Francis finishing 2nd in 47.82s and Afamefuna Ogbuagu 3rd in 47.87s, while MoC’s and Shell-sponsored Emmanuel Ojeli powered to victory in Heat 2 in 46.54s, with Joseph Obasi running a new PB of 47.39s to finish 2nd, and Atanda Akindele 3rd in 47.77s.

In Heat 1, Orukpe Eraiyokan ran an SB of 47.20s to secure the win, with Abdulraman Afeez finishing 2nd in 47.61s, as Jare Folarin placed 3rd with a time of 47.65s, while Japhet Samuel earned victory ahead of Isah Salihu, winning Heat 5 with a time of 47.50s. Salihu followed in 2nd in 47.69s, and MoC’s Oluwabunmi Lateef 3rd in 48.58s.

Martins Ogieriakhi was the fastest in the two 110m Hurdles heats, winning Heat 1 with a time of 14.19s. Samuel Osadolor was 2nd in 14.32s and Musa Great 3rd fastest overall, with victory in Heat 2 with a time of 14.59s.

Joy Abu ran a new PB of 58.37s in the women’s 400m Hurdles to qualify for the African Games, while Henry Okorie won Heat 1 of the men’s the race, beating Timothy Emeoghene to win with a time of 51.94s. Emeoghene was 2nd in an SB of 52.67s and Romanus Mba 3rd in 53.46s.

NSF Champion David Olowookere raced to an SB of 51.83s in Heat 2. Gbenga Bakre was 2nd in 52.41s and Oluwashina Yusuff 3rd in 56.14s.

Hamid Sambo got his revenge over Ogunseye Adegoke who beat him at the MoC Grand Prix, winning the race in 1:53.80. Adegoke finished 2nd in 1:54.17 and Dare Eniola 3rd in 1:55.36.

Adeyinka Bantefa raced to victory in the women’s 1500m with a time of 4:54.08, with Hannah Adewale 2nd in 5:03.51 and Maria Mandung 3rd in 5:16.99.

Competing for the first time in 2019, Kalu Eke Onwuka won the men’s Shot Put event with an SB of 16.68m.

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer 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 has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

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