The Nigerian athletes flown out of the country for the relay training tour to the United States in a bid to qualify for Tokyo Olympic Games competed for the first time at the PVAMU Invitational in Texas, with some of them running in their individual events.
Jerry Jakpa was very impressive in the men’s 100m, storming to victory in the second heat of the event with a time of 10.10s, the fastest time he has ever run all-conditions as it was aided by a 3.9m/s tailwind. His time was the fastest across all heats as he finished ahead of Elijah Morrow and Myles Anders in 10.32s and 10.43s respectively.
Jakpa’s teammate, Enoch Adegoke was brilliant as well in the first heat which he won in 10.23s (2.8m/s) from Godson Brume who clocked 10.30s, ensuring that Nigeria swept the top three places across all three heats of the event.
In like manner, Grace Nwokocha extended her unbeaten streak this season as she won the women’s equivalent in a time of 11.17s (3.5) ahead of a more experienced Candyce McGrone who placed 2nd in 11.31s as 3rd went to Ghana’s Gemma Acheampong in 11.39s. Joy Udo-Gabriel in the same race took 5th in a time of 11.48s.
Meanwhile, Jakpa returned back to the track few minutes after to run the 200m where he placed 2nd in a closely fought battle between him and Kyle Fulks, the winner in a time of 20.89s (1.5), just ahead of the former who ran 20.91s.
Praise Idamadudu was the only Nigerian athlete who competed in the women’s 400m, also taking 2nd in a Season’s Best (SB) of 53.49s behind Olympic Champion, Natasha Hastings who emerged winner in 52.71s.
After a Personal Best (PB) in his last outing at the National Sports Festival, Timothy Emoghene easily dominated the men’s 400m hurdles, gliding over the barriers to take a thorough win a time of 50.78s, well clear of second-placed Chris Davis in 53.36s and Devante Kinlaw, 3rd in 55.05s.
Nigeria capped off the competition with yet another win as Imaobong Nse Uko, Samson Nathaniel, Patience Okon-George and Sikiru Adeyemi combined for a new National Record of 3:18.53 in the mixed 4x400m, taking the win by over 10 seconds from their nearest competitor, International Team Blue in 3:28.66 and Athletics TX ‘A’ in 3:30.18.