It was a very busy weekend for Track & Field across the globe and Nigerian athletes were not left out, with many of them dropping Personal Bests (PB) and near-World Leading times in their respective events.
The highlight perhaps of all those performances was Sade Olatoye’s National Record (NR)-breaking performance in her outing at the Jesse Owens Classic, sending out her orb to a massive 69.89m to not only win the women’s Hammer Throw, but also take down Temilola Ogunrinde’s previous marker of 68.85m from 2019. It effectively doubled and tripled as a Stadium and Meet Record, while she finished ahead of Gianna Rao (60.24m) and Angel Nkwonta (59.46m).
Divine Oduduru made known his intentions for the 2021 season as he swept to a blazing 19.88s to win the men’s 200m at the UNF Invitational in Florida, defeating Cravont Charleston who ran a PB of 20.16s and followed closely by FSU’s Jo’Vaughn Martin who has run a huge 9.94s over 100m this season, recording a time of 20.22s (PB) to take 3rd in this race.
Oduduru’s time is the second fastest in the world this year, just six-hundredths behind the World Lead (WL) held by Terrance Laird. He would later return to take 3rd in the men’s 100m, running a Season’s Best (SB) behind his training partners, Trayvon Bromell in a WL of 9.88s and Andre de Grasse in an identical 10.05s.
In like manner, Blessing Okagbare was well in a league of her own as she flew down the track at the same meet to a 22.03s clocking in the women’s 200m, a time that would have erased her own African Record (AR) and equalled Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s WL but didn’t, due to the marginally excessive wind reading of 2.5m/s.
Also running in Florida, but this time at the Pure Athletics Sprint Elite Meet, Tobi Amusan stormed to an equal PB of 12.48s, moving to 2nd on the global toplist, alongside World Record (WR) holder Kendra Harrison, to win the women’s 100mH. After an interim 12.55s in qualification, she was totally unflustered as 2nd-placed Cassandra Lloyd ran 13.56s, while 3rd went to Deya Erickson in 13.69s.
Meanwhile, Fabian Edoki signalled his return back to the 8 metres club, when he reached an SB of 8.01m at the UNF Invitational with no wind at all, finishing 2nd behind his teammate Isaac Grimes who leapt 8.07m for the win and thus making him the 2nd Nigerian athlete to surpass 8 metres in 2021. The only other athlete to have surpassed 8 metres, Meyiwa Ineh who got out to 8.07m earlier this season also reached exactly 8.00m (0.1) at the SSAC Championships for a thorough win in the event.
Rosemary Chukwuma narrowly missed out on a PB when she stormed to the 100m win at the Corky/Crofoot Shoot-out in Texas with a time of 11.18s, aided by a 2.1m/s wind. She finished ahead of Ayla Stanislaus (11.27s) and Peyton Ricks (11.47s) and would be hoping to build on that momentum, going forward. Her teammate Success Umukoro also ran a PB in a different heat however, turning in 11.73s (0.2).
Competing on her school track for a third time this outdoor season was Ruth Usoro in the women’s Triple Jump, an event she dominated with a leap of 13.85m and inspired a 1-2-3 finish for her school, with Monae’ Nichols taking 2nd with 13.25m as Chinne Okoronkwo placed 3rd with 13.09m.
Anita Taviore ran two PBs in one day at the West Coast Relays. The Nigerian who competes for Boise State University, won the women’s 100m at the event in a time of 11.51s and went on to further take 2nd in the 200m in a time of 23.25s (1.5) in a race won by Tianna Holmes in 23.22s.
David Olowookere ran his fifth straight 400mH race undefeated in the US for his school, Drake University, but this time, with an icing on the cake as he clocked a time of 50.95s for the win at the Illinois State Invitational, breaking his PB of 51.07s from 2018.
At the Tennessee Challenge, Erhire Best cleared 2.17m to win the men’s High Jump, while his teammate Esther Isa who was coming off a PB from last weekend, remained undefeated in the women’s equivalent, easily topping 1.80m.
Princess Kara threw 50.82m to win her customary event, the Discus Throw at the NJCAA Regionals I and also took the Shot Put title with 13.35m.