After a great opening day of the 2021 Nigerian Olympic Trials, the men and women’s 400m finals held on Day 2 of the competition at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos.
Billed as a match between experience and youth, the women’s 400m which lived up to its billing saw experience prevail over youth as Patience Okon-George powered to her fifth consecutive national title in a Season’s Best (SB) of 52.24s, ahead of a strong Knowledge Omovoh (52.71s) and National Sports Festival (NSF) Champion, Imaobong Nse Uko (52.84s).
Praise Idamadudu did just enough to claim the final B as she clocked 54.43s, holding off strong challenge from Kemi Francis (54.46s), Mercy Umoibang (54.51s) and Abasiono Akpan who almost overhauled her lead in the final 50m.
In the men’s final, Chidi Okezie finished like a steam train on the home straight, coming from behind to lay hold on the 400m title in a time of 46.18s as he breezed past Emmanuel Ojeli, Samson Nathaniel and Adeyemi Sikiru. For Okezie, it was a second national title in 2021, having taken a clutch win in the event at the Edo 2020 NSF held in April.
Ojeli was 2nd in 46.32s, while Nathaniel and Adeyemi switched their places from the NSF, with the former snatching the 3rd position with 46.39s while the latter returned a time of 46.67s. The quartet will be expected to partner in the men’s 4x400m relays holding on Sunday as they aim to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The men’s 400m B Final was won by Samuel Japhet in 47.36s, with Adeola Ayo following in 47.96s while Gerald Odeka settled for 3rd in 48.02s.