Alaba Akintola earned for himself a first-ever major senior title as he won the 200m title at the 20th National Sports Festival with efficiency rather than flamboyance in a time of 20.51s.
Drawn on lane 3, the diminutive Edo State athlete got off to a cracking start and once he got into the home straight, he consolidated on his lead to coast home in a new Personal Best time (PB).
Behind Akintola, Jerry Jakpa, who ran on the outside lane, ran a controlled race to take 2nd as he equalled his PB of 20.59s. Chidi Okezie of Delta State tried to keep up with the front two, but he didn’t have much in the tank left, clocking 20.85s to take Bronze.
Out of the blocks quickly, Alaba was already ahead midway through the bend, entering the straight with a two-meter margin ahead of Okezie. Both held their form down the home straight, but the 100m Silver medallist did manage to pad his margin by another meter or so.
Out on lane eight, Jakpa was in touch with Alaba, as he was pounding the track with so much force and with every stride was seemingly trying to close the gap on Akintola.
However, Akintola showed athletics composure beyond his years, staying relaxed and powering home to take a comfortable win in the end.