Jerry Jakpa and Grace Nwokocha staked their claims as two of the fastest sprinters in Nigeria as they emerged champions respectively in the men’s and women’s 200m final at the Nigerian Olympic Trials taking place at the Sports Complex of the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria.
About 24 hours after taking Bronze in the 100m, Nwokocha, the National Sports Festival double Champion powered to the National title in the 200m to admirably live up to her role as favourite in the finals.
Despite a bit of a wobble at the start, she ate the stagger on her rivals and was already ahead midway through the bend, entering the straight with a two-meter margin over rising athlete Tima Godbless.
Both held their form down the home straight but then Nwokocha did manage to pad her margin by another meter or so before crossing the line as the National Champion for the first time in her career.
Tima Godbless blazed to a new Personal Best 23.44s to finish 2nd while Olayinka Olajide was 3rd with 24.16s.
Jakpa followed suit with another commanding performance in the men’s 200m final, storming to victory in 20.80s. After notching Bronze in 2017 and Silver in 2019, Jakpa put the disappointment of missing out on the win to claim his first National title as a senior athlete.
Coming through unscathed in his heat, Jakpa was the overwhelming favourite as he got into the blocks. Not the best of starters, he was able to keep in touch with Audu Gafar and Adekalu Fakorede, and once he got into his full strides, he powered home to victory.
Gafar put up a late fight towards the last 20m, but it wasn’t to be for him as he settled for 2nd in 20.85s, with Fakorede taking 3rd in 21.25s.