The first leg of the League started at The National Stadium, Abuja at about 9am, the events were divided into Promotional and Golden League events. Promotional events allow athletes to make international standards for the possibility of representing Nigeria while the Golden League events are the real events for the competition that the athletes’ scores points like the diamond League.
We would start with the Promotional events. World Junior hopeful, Isaac Odugbesan
Women shot put had Chime Nkechi in first place with a distance of 15.27m; Eucharia Ogbukwo and Aniefuna Anulika were second and third with 14.10 and 13.38m respectively. Eke Kalu won the men’s event with 16.78m. Ezeofor Kenechukwu (14.90m) and Isaac Odugbesan (14.40m) finished second and third. In the 5000m men Adamu Shehu was the man to beat as he won with a time of 15:00.33secs, Solomon Yibam finished 2nd and Jigak Monday with 15:01.01 and 15:01.09secs respectively. Monica Ezeikor won the female version with 18:03.83secs as Rose Akuso (18:12.79) and Onan Sale (18:35.13) finished in second and third. The hop, step and Jump event had Ejumeta David (14.77m), Ashien Godwin (14.77m) and Ozor Valentine (14.31m) in top three spots.
Blessing of NSCDC continued her winning spree as she leaped 13.60m to win as Grace Anigbata (12.96m) and Brown Uche (12.56m) were second and third.
Blessings’ Magnificent jump
The favorite in the men’s Javelin, Adams Samuel did not disappoint as he finished top with 66.96m. Ezeofor Kenechukwu (63.60m) while Tsafa Ferdinand finished third with 58.75m.
Adams Samuels’ Throw
In the vertical jumps, Esther Issa scaled 1.73m to finish first as Nwichi Ngozi was second (1.60m). They were the only two to compete.
Emotional Esther Issa as she scaled 1.73m
Top Three in the men’s event were Theddus Okpara (2.08m), Obiora Arinze (2.05m) and Habibu Surajo (1.75m). After the event, Theddus expressed his disappointment as he wanted to do more than he did as he looks forward to the African Senior Championships and Olympics. African Champion, Oluwakemi Francis outran the others to win the Women’s 100m hurdles with a time of 14.25secs. Last All Comers winner, Ayemoba Grace finished 2nd with 14.30secs while Kadiri Sarah was third (15.22s). In the Hammer Women event top three were Daramola Feyisayo (52.18m), Omizi Sophia (48.50m) and Mordi Rita (42.08m). In discus men event, Olatunji Olawale finished first with a throw of 51.43m, Nwoye Augustine (50.87m) and Ezeofor Kenechukwu (49.60m). In 1500m Women, there were only two participants, Maryimu Moses (5:16.63s) and Emmanuel Mercy (5:36.56s). 800m is the last event for the Promotional events as Ihekadu Philomena finished first with 2:10.21s Agber Shimenenge ended closely with 2:10.23s and Oluchi Offorma (2:13.65s) for the women. While in the men’s event, Agboola Daniel crossed in third place with a time of 1:53.21secs, Maazu Saleh dipped in first (1:52.21s) while Anayo Eze gave a hot chase to finish behind him with 1:52.56secs.
Mens 1500m winner
Now to the Golden League events.
In the 110m hurdles men, it was perceived that Martins Ogieriakhi beat the gun but the race wasn’t called off. Though as nature would have it, after going over four barriers he fell. As Oyeniyi Abioye won with 14.43secs, Osadolor Samuel was 2nd (14.61s) and Okon Samuel (14.74s). Oyeniyi expressed his anger as he lamented that the race should have been called off.
Women Long Jump winner, Commonwealth Gold medalist, Ese Brume jumped a 6.54m as she aims at qualifying for the Olympics. Ruth Usoro (5.99m) and Mercy Abire (5.96m) in third place.
Ese Brume in action
Javelin Women, African Champion, Nwanage Kelechi won with a comfortable 51.85m. Ugeh Kaise (37.13m) and Idhe Hope in third (36.58m). The men’s 1500m event had as many as 12 athletes who competed and the top 5 include, Hamajam Soudi (3:52.57), Saka Sanusu(3:57.88s), Barnabas David (3:58.50s), David Musa(4:10.47s) and Shaba Dare (4:13.17s). 400m hurdles for men was a work-over for Henry Okorie as he won it with 52.24s. William Airen of Lagos was second with 55.80s and Jugo Ezira was third (56.12s).
400m men and Women finals was exciting. Patience Okon was so comfortable as she finished with 52.11s while Ajayi Yinka was second with 52.65s. Getting the third, fourth and fifth was tight as Ogumbase (53.43s), Etim Margaret (53.53s) and Praise Idamadudu (53.54s) respectively.
Orukpe ‘paparazzi’ Eroyakan showed to the crowd that his 46.83s in the heat wasn’t a fluke as he bettered it to a 46.41s to cross first. Just like the Women, getting the second, third, fourth Abd fifth was hard as Atinaya Daniel dipped with 47.47s, FatoyinboOjo (47.52s), IsahSalihu (47.62s) and OgunmolaTobi (47.84s). Orukpe speaking about his race said ‘I just went there and put up my best. I didn’t think I could run that fast because I did not want to run this
meet but I just decided to do something. I am grateful to God’
The Women’s 100m was a race to watch as Osazuwa Agnes the winner of last week All-comers didn’t want to let Peace Uko take the TITLE but Peace proved too strong as she won with 11.52s. Osazuwa followed closely in 11.54s. Mercy Ntiabong finished third with 11.67s. Last week Youngster, Alphonsus Anikeme didn’t run at all due to Ill Health, we wish her a quick recovery.
100m womens finalists
Ogho-Oghene Egwero proved that he is coming back to dominance as he won in a mind blowing 10.24. Former National Champion, Obinna Metu was second (10.36s). Divine Oduduru was third with 10.48s.
Ogho-Oghene Egwero in action
The 200m was the last event of the day as the relay was cancelled (we would come to that). The Women race was won by Idamadudu Praise with 23.76s. Mercy Ntiabong was initially leading the race but Praise overhauled her in the last 30m. Mercy ran 23.83s and Sule Justina ran 24.53s to place third.
Then to the big story. The last event for the day was meant to be the 4x100m relays but somehow it was cancelled! And the male athletes who thought it would be an avenue for them to run the Olympics qualifying time flared up in anger as they staged a protest.
An athlete who spoke with ‘Athleticheat’ said ‘The 4x100m was cancelled because of a female sprinter and you know the men’s 4x100m has not qualified for the Olympics. Just imagine, Ogho didn’t run the 200m because he was reserving his strength for the relay then they later found out it was CANCELLED!’
He continued ‘Some officials don’t know how to talk; you can’t be talking to athletes any how just because we asked for our right. It’s not fair! NSCDC team had a good team that would have run the Olympics standard as the team included Tega Odele, Nicholas Imphoramphe, Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Divine Oduduru. It’s so painful. Some athletes might even boycott the next Golden League if care is not taken’ He Said
Another athlete was heard telling a top AFN official that he and other stakeholders are spoiling the Sports and that they should stop it!
The athletes really spoke their minds to the officials as they also talked about some other issues like non- payment of athletes and how they were stranded in the US amongst other things.
As we are in the era of CHANGE, it’s also influencing The Athletics Federation and the next Golden League which was earlier slated for Port Harcourt has been changed to Sapele, Delta State.
Those who weren’t there, I am sure after reading would have felt like being there live, right?
The 4x100m relay is a golden league event, so what will happen to the money that was meant to be given to the winners??
Share your comments on the protest that happened on saturday. What’s your take and opinion?
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