Team Nigeria’s campaign at the 22nd African Senior Athletics Championships in Mauritius started off on a good note as the country participated in several events on the first day of competition.
Some of the events the country’s athletes featured in include the men and women’s 100m and 400m, 100m Hurdles, 110m Hurdles and Heptathlon.
At the end of two rounds, Tima Godbless was the last Nigerian woman standing in the 100m, storming to a huge Personal Best (PB) of 11.25s in the semis to finish 2nd to South Africa’s Carina Horn who posted 11.08s to win the race.
Earlier in the day, Godbless was the woman to beat in Heat 3 where she stormed to victory in a time of 11.71s while teammate Praise Ofoku also dominated Heat 5 after returning a time of 11.80s. However she placed 4th with 11.62s in the semis and didn’t proceed to the final. It was a similar case for Balikis Yakubu who finished 2nd in 11.76s during the heats and then settled for 5th in 11.63s in the semis.
African Games Champion Raymond Ekevwo is also Nigeria’s sole qualifier in the men’s 100m final. Drawn in the same heat as African Record holder Ferdinand Omanyala, Ekevwo placed 2nd with a time of 10.11s and then clocked 10.15s in the semis to advance to the final.
Former National Champion Seye Ogunlewe posted 10.24s in 3rd place in his heat, and then finished 4th in the semis, missing out on a spot in the final. In his first outing for Nigeria, Nicholas Mabilo finished 3rd in Heat 5 with a time of 10.54s, narrowly missing on a qualification spot for the next round.
Marrakech 2014 and Durban 2016 Bronze medallist Patience Okon-George was in fine form and was the second fastest overall across all heats in the women’s 400m, returning a time of 52.19s to win Heat 5. Former 200m National Champion Praise Idamadudu won Heat 4 in 54.61s while the third Nigerian listed for the event, Ella Onojuvwevwo Did Not Start (DNS).
Nigeria’s three representatives in the men’s 400m all qualified for the semis. Former National Champion Samson Nathaniel was 4th in Heat 4 with a time of 47.01s. Sikiru Adeyemi was 2nd in Heat 5 where he clocked 46.73s behind Zambia’s Alexander Bock (46.49s) while Johnson Nnamani competed in Heat 6, placing 5th with 47.37s, narrowly qualifying for the semis.
African Record holder Tobi Amusan started her title defence with a win in Heat 2 of the 100m Hurdles, recording the overall fastest time of 12.63s. Compatriot and Asaba 2018 Silver medallist Abejoye Oyeniyi finished 3rd (13.81s) in Heat 1 of the 110m Hurdles to qualify for the final.
African Games medallist Kemi Petersen was in action in the 100m Hurdles, 200m, Shot Put and High Jump (Heptathlon). She currently ranks 3rd with a total of 2989 points.