Day 1 of the World Athletics Trials organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and staged in Benin, Edo State, saw some star-studded appearances in the women’s 100m Hurdles, men’s 100m and men’s shot put among other events.
Returning to action on home soil for the first time since breaking the World Record last year, Amusan hardly broke a sweat to emerge champion in the event, stopping the clock at 12.70s with her closest competitor, Faith Osamuyi coming a distant 2nd in 13.90s, and Kemi Francis-Petersen 3rd in 14.14s.
In the highly-anticipated men’s 100m final, Usheoritse ‘Dushos’ Itsekiri equalled his 100m Personal Best (PB), running a solid 10.02s to claim his 2nd National title. Itsekiri looked to be in good form, running the fastest time in the men’s 100m semis after winning Heat 2 in 10.12s. In the final, he held firm, and pulled away to reclaim the title he first won in 2019, with Seye Ogunlewe (10.11s) and Alaba Akintola (10.12s) following.
Blessing Ogundiran emerged champion in the women’s 100m, taking her first National title after securing the victory over African U-18 100m/200m champion Faith Okwose, and African record holder in the Long Jump, Ese Brume, with her time of 11.50s.
Comfort James won her second 800m National title. It was the fastest she has ever run in this event, racing to a new Personal Best of 2:07.96. James was the outstanding athlete in this event, beating her closest challenger Olayinka Saibu (2:11.96) by exactly four seconds.
Salisu Habibu made it three consecutive titles on the bounce competing in men’s 800m, shaking off the chasing pack to clinch victory in a time of 1:54.63. He has now won four National titles overall, including the 1500m he won in 2022. Habibu is a good prospect for Nigeria.
Johnson Nnamani ran the fastest time of the men’s 400m heats, clocking a new PB of 46.13s to take the final heat ahead of Samson Nathaniel and Raphael Egbuchilem. Daniel Atinaya won the preceding heat in 46.85s as African U-18 Champion Samuel Ogazi held on to win Heat 1 with a time of 46.24s, just ahead of Sikiru Adeyemi.
Imaobong Nse-Uko only arrived in Nigeria on Monday but still ran very well to win her 400m heat in an almost flat 52.00s despite still suffering from some jetlag as at this morning. From the outside lane, Omolara Omotosho who is making a return back to track since having two kids, clocked a time of 53.01s to win Heat 2 head of Deborah Oke.
Patience Okon-George will also be a contender in the final, taking the victory in Heat 3 of the women’s semis ahead of Ella Onojuvwevwo.
Both Prosper Ekporere and Wisdom Great Musa qualified for the final of men’s 110m Hurdles, winning their respective heats to secure qualifications. Ekporere got to the line in 13.83s to take Heat 1, while Musa also went under 14s, clocking 13.92s to win Heat 2.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi successfully defended his Nigerian title, winning the men’s Shot Put by throwing a distance of 21.09m. Enekwechi has now won four Nigerian titles since the first one he claimed in Sapele in 2016.