The men’s 200m A Final provided the biggest performance on Day 2 of the African Games Open Trials in Abuja as Making of Champions (MoC) athlete Jerry Jakpa raced to the fastest time run on Nigerian soil in three years, clocking a massive Personal Best (PB) of 20.59s to win the race.

The stadium erupted in a roar as the clocked stopped at 20.57s, and the ARCO-sponsored athlete also responded in a roar of his own as it dawned on him that he had finally bettered his previous PB of 20.84s set at the Gaborone International Meet in Botswana in April, making him the second fastest Nigerian athlete in the world in 2019.

Emmanuel Arowolo, who won the MoC Grand prix less than two weeks ago, followed in a Season’s Best (SB) of 21.02s, as another MoC athlete and National 200m Junior Champion Favour Ekpekpe settled for 3rd in a PB of 21.11s.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 200m Final B, Victor Akhalu won the race in 21.77s ahead of Hammed Yusuf and MoC’s John Clifford who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively

Favour Ofili extended her fantastic showing in 2019 to the women’s 200m A final where she stormed to a PB of 23.24s to emerge a clear winner, with Anita Taviore also running a PB, clocking a time of 23.68s to finish 2nd, having set a new lifetime best of 23.89s in the heats earlier in the day. Praise Idamadudu ran an SB of 23.69s to finish 3rd.

MoC’s Victory Owhovoriole was the woman to beat in the B Final where she ran a new PB of 24.70s to finish ahead of Chukwuebuka Obidigwe who was 2nd in 24.76s, and Tseyi Batse 3rd in 25.09s.

The men’s 400m A Final was a thrilling race! About four athletes came out of the last bend into the home straight at the same time, with 2017 National Champion Samson Nathaniel making a go for it. However, it was MoC’s Emmanuel Ojeli who got to the line first to win in 46.16s – the second fastest time of his career.

Nathaniel ran an SB of 46.26s in 2nd place as Sikiru Adeyemi finished 3rd in 47.00s. The latter raced to a new PB of 46.29s to win his heat on Day 1 of the Trials.

Abdulraman Afeez clocked 47.29s to secure the victory in the men’s 400m Final B, with Victor Akhalu finishing 2nd with a time of 47.99s. Jare Folarin came in 3rd in 48.13s.

Commonwealth Games Silver medallist Patience Okon-George ran a dominant race, having established an early lead, to easily win the women’s 400m with an SB of 52.28s, with Favour Ofili finishing in 2nd place with a time of 52.89s. Blessing Ovwighoadjebre finished 3rd with a PB of 54.40s.

There was a big upset in the men’s 400m Hurdles as Timothy Emoghene upstaged his older counterparts to win the final with a new lifetime best of 51.24s, with Henry Okorie finishing 2nd with an SB of 51.59s, while Gbenga Bakre ran a PB of 52.21s to finish 3rd.

Having won the MoC Grand Prix recently, Joy Abu continued her winning streak as she moved away from Comfort Ekanem after the last barrier to win the women’s 400m Hurdles final with a time of 58.45s. Ekanem ran a PB of 58.75s to finish 2nd, with Daisy Akpofa 3rd in 58.91s.

Yinka Bantefa made it a double at the National Open Trials, beating Aminat Alabi to win the women’s 800m with a time of 2:12.87, having won the 1500m the previous day. Alabi finished 2nd in 2:13.81, and Hawawu Haruna 3rd with a time of 2:19.02.

Making his first competitive outing in 2019, Austin Nwoye threw an SB of 55.17m to win the men’s Discus event.

Esther Isa won the women’s High Jump with a mark of 1.75m, same height as Temitope Adesina who finished in 2nd place. It was a new PB for the latter who improved on her previous PB of 1.70m. Fegor Clifford finished 3rd with 1.55m.

 

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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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