The stage is set for a scintillating men’s 100m final at the ongoing National Athletics Championships in Kaduna, as the pair of Enoch Adegoke and Usheoritse Itsekiri maintained unbeaten runs on Day 1 of the competition to emerge favourites for the much-coveted crown.
Having received a wildcard to the semis, Adegoke didn’t compete in the heats. Itsekiri clocked the overall fastest time in the heats, returning a time of 10.36s, with Idjesa Uruemu (10.45s), Jerry Jakpa (10.54s) and three-time National Champion Seye Ogunlewe (10.57s) winning their respective heats.
The stakes were raised in the semis however, with Adegoke running the fastest time overall, a time of 10.14s to win the race ahead of Jakpa who equalled his Personal Best (PB) of 10.32s, and Uruemu (10.54s).
Itsekiri on the other hand had the second fastest time of 10.16s in Semifinal 2 as Ogunlewe followed in 10.23s while Emmanuel Arowolo settled for 3rd in 10.33s. Alaba Akintola (10.44s) and Godson Brume (10.58s) were the top finishers in Semifinal 3.
In the women’s event, Joy Udo-Gabriel topped the standings in the heats with her Season’s Best (SB) of 11.49s while Rosemary Chukwuma had the second fastest time of 11.59s, with Grace Nwokocha clocking the third fastest time of 11.61s.
The standings changed in the semis as Chukwuma lowered her time to 11.46s to win Semifinal 2 ahead of Cecilia Francis (11.64s) and Jasper Adekunle (11.71s). Udo-Gabriel won Semifinal 3 with a time of 11.51s, with Blessing Ogundiran following in 2nd in 11.70s.
Nwokocha won Semifinal 1 in 11.60s as Mercy Ntia-Obong (11.70s) and Obidigwe Chukwuebuka (11.77s) followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Meanwhile Shehu Mu’azu upstaged Emmanuel Gyang to win the men’s 10,000m, returning a time of 31.36.25, while Deborah Pam was a class apart from her competitors, taking 1st place with a time of 35.25.33.
Austin Nwoye continued extended his dominance from Abuja, winning the men’s Discus throw with a mark of 52.94m, with Kenechukwu Ezeofor (49.01m) and Olawale Olatunji (41.89m) settling for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Princess Kara won the women’s event with her best throw of 49.18m. Utitofon James followed with a mark of 44.72m while Onome Ogbeni was 3rd with 43.70m.
Oluwayemi Blessing was the man to beat in the Triple Jump as he claimed the title with a distance of 15.39m, finishing ahead of Abiola Olajide (15.31m) and Chidozie Kalu (15.04m).
Blessing Ibrahim won the women’s event with a mark of 13.25m, as Onaara Obamuwagun and Mercy Honesty followed with distances of 12.84m and 12.80m respectively.