The men and women’s 400m final were the major highlights on Day 3 of athletics action at the ongoing National Sports Festival taking place at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, as medals were also won on the field.
In the men’s 400m final, Chidi Okezie did not give room for a gap to open up in the opening 200m, and he stayed with the frontrunners then attacked when he needed to, easily winning his 1st National Sports Festival 400m title in a time of 45.60s. Emmanuel Ojeli came in 2nd in 46.08s and Sikiru Adeyemi 3rd in 46.51s.
The women’s final pitched Patience Okon-George went out too hard, Imabong Nse Uko had so much ground to catch up, she did catch up with Okon-George in the last 70m, then peeled away to successfully retain her Sports Festival title, smashing her own PB & going under 52s for the first time to win in 51.71s.
The men and women’s 200m heats took place with the likes of Jerry Jakpa, Alaba Akintola, Gracious Ushie Gafar Audu all winning their heats comfortable, while Grace Nwokocha, Tima Godbless, Praise Idamadudu were also winners in the women’s category.
Edidiong Okon was the man to beat in the men’s 800m final as the Akwa Ibom athlete ran under 1:50s to win in 1:49.87. Nathaniel Ezikeiel of Edo came 2nd in 1:51.66, while Salisu Habibu of FCT was 3rd in 1:52.73.
Team Delta rested Grace Nwokocha in the heats of Women’s 4x100m, and undoubtedly remain favourites to win GOLD in this event going into the finals. However, Lagos State (fastest overall in the heats) with the quartet of Joy Udo-Gabriel, Balikis Yakubu, Moyo Badejo & Precious Okoronkwo could cause an upset in the final.
Lagos State had a good run in the men’s 4x100m winning heat 1, but the best performance came from Team Edo who had the top 2 finishers in the men’s 100m, exchanging baton in the first & second legs, as they won in 40.02s.
On the field, Eke Kalu win the men’s Shot Put with a best throw of 16.89m, while Chioma Enuomu was a class apart from the rest of her competitors as she won the women’s Javelin win 41.93m.
There was a huge upset in the men’s high jump, an event that drew the curtains on day 3, with David Aya of Delta State beating Mike Edwards of Rivers state to the GOLD.