An elated Raymond Ekevwo after running under 10s in the men's 100m for the first time in his career. Photo (Christopher Maduewesi)

Just as it happened at the 2007 African Games in Algiers, Nigeria secured a 1-3 finish in the men’s 100m at the 2019 African Games in Morocco as the sublime Raymond Ekevwo ran a spectacular race to break 10s for the first time in his career, dominating the field with a new Personal Best (PB) of 9.96s, while teammate Usheoritse Itsekiri also clocked a new PB of 10.02s to win Bronze.

Olusoji Fasuba was the last man to win the 100m at the African Games, a feat he achieved 12 years ago when he struck GOLD with a time of 10.18s while Uchenna Emedolu scooped Bronze after returning a time of 10.37s.

Obinna Metu took the Bronze at the 2011 edition of the championship while Ogho-Oghene Egwero won Silver in Congo-Brazzaville four years ago.

This time around, it was Cote d’Ivoire’s Arthur Cisse who won the Silver with a time of 9.97s. The Ivoirian sprinter had been regarded as a major contender for the title, coming with a PB and National Record (NR) of 9.93s set last month in Leverkusen.

University of Florida undergraduate Ekevwo maintained an unbeaten run through the rounds, winning his heat with the overall fastest time of 10.20s and then winning his semis with a time of 10.26s at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.

It was a similar story for Itsekiri who also won his first two races, clocking 10.27s and 10.25s respectively, and with his final race, secured qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ekevwo’s winning time of 9.96s is just 0.01s shy of the Championship Record (CR) of 9.95s set by Deji Aliu at the 2003 African Games in Abuja. He also becomes only the second Nigerian to have dipped under 10s in 2019, with Divine Oduduru topping the list.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter 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, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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