After a long wait, Athletics finally kicked off at the University of Ghana Stadium in Accra as Team Nigeria athletes embarked on a mission to increase the medal tally for the nation across the next five days, and possibly etching their names in the African Games Record books.

The women’s 100m heats started Team Nigeria’s campaign at the Games as Justina Eyakpobeyan (11.43s), Olajide Olayinka (11.51), and Blessing Ogundiran (11.61) won their respective heats.

The men’s 100m heats witnessed Usheoritse Itsekiri, Consider Ekanem, and Israel Okon Sunday all qualifying for the semifinals. Itsekiri posted the 2nd fastest time overall in 10.19s.

The evening session commenced with Wisdom Musa qualifying for the men’s 110m hurdles final after finishing 3rd in his semifinal heat in 14.35s.

Up next, the quarter milers started their business as all six of them —male and female—made it to the semis, with Esther Elo Joseph and Chidi Okezie dropping the nation’s leading times of 51.81s and 45.89s respectively to dominate their heats.

Dubem Nwachukwu and Sikiru Adeyemi recorded 46.29s and 46.72s to place 2nd and 3rd in their successive heats. Their female counterparts ran sub-54 times to lock their places in the semis. Esther Okon did a 53.17s while Brittany Ogunmokun got a PB of 53.53s.

The anticipated event of the evening, the 100m semis came alive with Team Nigeria still having her athletes intact. Olayinka took control of her heat by chasing down Congo’s Natacha Ngoye (11.48s) to snatch the win in 11.46s against a head wind of 1.5m/s. Eyakpobeyan also won her heat with a time of 11.61s, just slightly ahead of Tsaone Sebele (11.65s). Unfortunately, Blessing Ogundiran didn’t make the final after finishing 5th in her heat.

The same fate befell the men’s side as well as only Itsekiri and Ekanem made it through to the finals, after winning their respective semifinal heats in the second and third fastest overall times of 10.29s and 10.37s.

Sunday narrowly missed the final after placing 9th overall (10.47s) with the same time as the 8th place finisher.

Comfort James and Hamid Sambo made their African Games debut in the women’s and men’s 800m respectively. The former tied her PB of 2:05.11 to sneak her through as one of the fastest non automatic qualifiers while the latter placed 6th in his heat and ultimately missed the final, recording a time of 1:51.28.

Lastly, The mixed 4x400m quartet which comprised of Emmanuel Ojeli, Samson Nathaniel, Patience Okon George, and Omolara Ogunmakinju ran an initial Games Record of 3:15.23, finishing over 8 seconds ahead of Ghana. Botswana broke the record in their heat with a National Record (NR) of 3:14.36.


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