A much-expected win from Emmanuel Ojeli, a graceful display from Imaobong Nse Uko, a comeback victory from Abejoye Oyeniyi, and a return to action for Mike Edwards, were the highlights on Day 2 of the 3rd Making of Champions Grand Prix which was held at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex, Lagos, Nigeria.
Capping a stunning comeback after delving into a reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, Edwards showed little sign of rustiness as he began competing competitively. And with the jumper making his fans aware of his return, most of them had their eyes fixed on the event that drew the curtains on what has been a stellar two-day meet.
Judging by the thunderous roar that followed every jump last evening, it was abundantly clear that, he was on the day, the most magnetic figure on the track. He duly delivered a spectacle for his fans.
Having passed up on heights 1.80m, 1.85m, 1.90m, 1.95m, and 2.00m, opting to start with 2.05m, David Aya, who has been the most dominant athlete in the event on the home front, was putting together a good series and gaining confidence.
Edwards seemed unruffled as he easily navigated 2.05m and 2.10m respectively. That was Aya’s albatross as he failed on his first two attempts on the latter mark. He later cleared it as the mark equalled his Personal Best (PB) set last year. At that point, Edwards knew he had a mountain to climb.
But on the day, Edwards would not be stopped. Digging deep and pumped by the roars of the crowd, he bounded down the runway to produce his biggest clearance of the night, finally finding his rhythm to sail above 2.15, a mark Aya was unable to clear. Edwards attempted 2.20m after his win but couldn’t clear at three attempts, bringing an end to the exciting contest. Godwin Charles topped 1.95m for 3rd.
“It was fun coming out here and reintroducing myself to the Athletics community in Nigeria. It wasn’t a spectacular performance on my part, but I’m glad I put up a show for the fans”, Edwards said after winning his event.
On the track, Emmanuel Ojeli led from gun to tape in a men’s 400m final that had most of the major contenders to the crown opting not to run. They certainly would have pushed him to break new grounds as he had Olympic qualification on his sights, but he still came through with a new Meet Record (MR) of 46.08. Daniel Atinaya was 2nd with 47.20 and Making of Champions (MoC) Ayo Adeola clocked 47.82 for 3rd.
MoC’s John Clifford won the men’s 400m Final B in a new PB of 47.14s.
Uko was another unstoppable athlete on the day, and although she couldn’t match Yinka Ajayi’s MR of 52.08s from two years ago, the rising star won comfortably with 52.54s. Glory Patrick came through for 2nd in 53.82, and MoC’s Mercy Umoibang, who has qualified for the World Juniors, was third in 54.00s, a new lifetime best. Josephine Oloye won Final B in 55.37s.
The men’s 200m final was a close call, as MoC’s Jerry Jakpa and Alaba Akintola gave onlookers something to savor, as they both crossed the line in 20.97s. It was the former that was given the win, erasing Emmanuel Arowolo’s MR of 21.03s from 2019, while the latter went home with a new PB. Ferdinand Omanyala was 3rd with 21.04s.
In the women’s final, Tima Godbless dipped at the line to pip Balikis Yakubu to the win, clocking a new PB of 23.88s, with the latter 0.02s behind. Joy Udo-Gabriel placed 3rd with 23.92s. Rejoice Sule won Final B in 25.06s.
Oyeniyi who had a point to prove, won the 110m Hurdles with a 13.84s Season’s Best, beating Samuel Osadolor (14.11s) in a race that saw him getting back to winning ways after losing to Wisdom Musa in Akure earlier in the month. Martins Ogieriakhi was 3rd with 14.36.
Over to the middle distances, Edidiong Okon Udo was the man to beat in the men’s 800m final, wining in 1:53.95. Soudi Hamadjam was a clear winner in the men’s 1500 clocking 3:56.85s.
Chidozie Kalu finished his semester exams on Saturday, left for Lagos on Sunday, and on his birthday he jumped an impressive PB of 16.04m to win the men’s Triple Jump. Kalu pipped Zola Nzube on his last attempt, winning for this 1st time since 2019 when he switched from 400m.
Adebayo Faforiji won the men’s Shot Put with 12.45m ahead of Mosuru Ganiyu who reached 11.86. Chukwuma Obiajuwa was 3rd with 11.72m.
Also, Precious Okoronkwo couldn’t match her MR of 6.36m from 2018, but she still came out top in the women’s Long Jump with 6.21m. Afoke Oshasha won the men’s category with a best jump of 7.40m
Samuel Kure defended his Javelin crown as his spear reached 73.80m.