This past weekend, Nigerian athletes put up amazing performances at various meets, led by three-time African Champion Ese Brume who got out to a new Personal Best (PB), National Record (NR) and African Record (AR) of 7.17m (1.1m/s) by virtue of her last-round leap at the Chula Vista Field Festival on Saturday, May 29th.
Brume who has built up to speed all year long, improved on her Season’s Best (SB) all through the series before that final jump while her mark is also the best by any female Long Jumper in the world in 2021, putting her in good position leading up to the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
Also in Chula Vista, a consistent Chioma Onyekwere threw a distance of 61.75m in the third round to win the women’s Discus Throw from Americans Micaela Hazlewood, 2nd at a PB of 60.52m and Rachel Dincoff who placed 3rd with 59.06m.
Emmanuel Ineh took down the 47-year-old NAIA Record in the men’s Long Jump at the NAIA Championships, soaring to a huge PB of 8.16m (1.3m/s), just outside the Olympic qualification standard whilst earning a thorough win over Jackson Coates who leapt a best of 7.60m (4.3) and Dustin Blevins at 7.48m (1.1). Ineh further reached marks of 7.99m and 7.92m in his other legal attempts within the series.
In the sprints, Blessing Okagbare swept to an SB of 10.90s (1.1m/s), her quickest time since 2015 at that and the 6th fastest in the world this season to finish 2nd in the women’s 100m at the Doha Diamond League behind her long-time rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who won in 10.84s (SB).
Favour Ofili who has shown promise all through 2021, also had as much of a striking performance in the women’s 200m at the NCAA East Preliminary which held in Jacksonville, Florida, where she powered to a massive PB of 22.30s to finish 2nd in her heat which was won by Cambrea Sturgis in 22.26s.
The race, which was run in perfectly still conditions will see Ofili move up several places into 7th on the season’s toplist and is currently the fastest Nigerian woman in 2021 and the fifth fastest ever all-time in the 200m.
Ofili’s countrywomen, Anita Taviore and Amarachukwu Obi who compete for BSU and MTSU, placed 6th in their respective quarterfinal races with 23.46s and 23.49s. Taviore had run a PB of 23.18s to qualify the day before.
There were a load of qualifiers in the field events to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, starting off with Ruth Usoro and Mercy Abire-Matanmi who both qualified for the Long Jump for their schools, Texas Tech and LSU with marks of 6.67m (2.7) and a PB of 6.43m for latter. Usoro, who is the NCAA Leader in the Triple Jump, would later return to comfortably qualify for the event the next day, only needing one attempt of 13.63m.
Esther Isa was another Nigerian athlete who did enough to punch her ticket to Eugene by clearing 1.82m in the women’s High Jump at the East Regional.
Sade Olatoye and Isaac Odugbesan finished 2nd in the women’s Hammer Throw and men’s Shot Put respectively with 66.77m and 19.79m to make it to the nationals while NR holder, Kelechi Nwanaga landed a mark of 53.33m to place 4th in the women’s Javelin Throw, securing herself a spot as well to Eugene.