​Odia, Abike smashes DMR Meet Record  as Fasasi ranks No.  2 in Division I 

After a fair performance in Nashville, Tennessee State on January 21st, the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University were back to the track yesterday, Jan. 29th at the KMS Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Blue Raiders claimed eight Top finishes at the meet, of which two Nigerians; Loveth Odia and Egbeniyi Abike were in the relay mix.  

The MT’s Women’s relay team took victory in the Distance Medley Relay which comprised Abike (1200m),  Odia (400m), Shaina Johnson (800m) and Agnes Abu (1600m) to complete the 4000m relay race and they won with a Meet Record of 11:54.77s smashing the previous record of 12:37.37s set in January 2016 by the relay squad of N. Sheppard,  A. McDonald, T. Bailey and S. Zylstra also running almost two minutes faster than Mississippi Valley who finished 2nd with 13:18.68s. 


Odia
also team up with Janet Amponsah, Taylor Day and Shaina to win the 4×400-meter race with a time of 3:44.40s. 

On the men’s side, Junior Ifiok Umoh finished 3rd in the 400m, clocking a time of 48.38s while Adeniji Adedamola placed 7th with 48.74s. 

In the 200m,  Sophomore Charles Okeze finished 16th overall with 22.04s. 


Ifiok
and Adedamola alongside Tahir Walsh and Trevon Sanders ran a time of 3:24.73s in the 4x400m relay race to finish in 13th position overall.  

Photo Credit: Twitter 

For Kunle Fasasi of University of Florida, it was more records to his possession.  On Jan. 7th, he broke the 300m National Indoor Record with a time of 33.09s. He went on run a then Personal Best of 46.53s in the 400m Indoor on January 21st.  Just last Saturday, he finished 2nd in the 400m at Razorback Invitational in Arkansas with yet another PB of 46.02s which ranks him ninth in program history and No. 2 in Division I this year. 

Fasasi also helped his team win the 4x400m relay race running a split time of 45.16s – the third fastest leg by anyone in the field – and they clocked a time of 3:07.11s which makes the Gators the No.  4 ranked relay team in the US. 

Photo credit: Instagram 

Meanwhile at the Pittsburgh State invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28th Mercy Abire and Omeiza Akerele were having a great time with one posting a win while the other equalling Personal Best. 


Abire
who is the reigning Athlete of the Week lived up to expectation as she won the Women’s Long Jump event for the second-consecutive week with a leap of 5.93m.


Omeiza
competed in the men’s 400m event running a time of 47.90s to equal his Indoor PB he ran almost a year ago. He later teamed up with Aobakwe Malao, D’khari Hicks and Reinhard Ndlovu to finish first in the men’s 4x400m Relay.  

Up Next: 


The Blue Raiders of MTSU will be getting prepared to host their annual Invitational on Sat. Feb 4th 2017. 


Florida Gators would be at Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet on Saturday, Feb. 4th in Blacksburg,  VA.  


While ORU Golden Eagles will kick off the month of February at the Herm Wilson Invitational at Wichita State in Wichita, Kansas.
 

Well done to all the athletes and Goodluck to them in their next meet.

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Jakpa, Usoro others triumph at TAFCAN meet! 

 

It’s a good way to start the season with winning and more importantly running Personal Best’s.  
The Track and Field Coaches Association of Nigeria (Lagos Chapter) played host to the Coaches Challenge on Friday, January 27th at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. 

The events kicked off with the Women’s 500m which was easily won by MoC’s Blessing Obarierhu running an amazing Personal Best of 1:19.2s. She was followed by Johnson Yewande of Akhigbe Club with a time of 1:29.8s while Israel Bunmi of Unic was in third place with 1:47.9s. 

The men’s event had two heats which were won by MoC athletes; Saheed Jimoh and Segun Akhigbe. Segun’s time of 1:05.4s was adjourned the best time while Saheed’s time of 1:06.8s was ranked 3rd overall. Bello Fahd of Eagle Sight finished 2nd running 1:06.14s in heat 2. 

In the 1 mile event, Wahaab Zainab was the surprise winner running a time of 5:47.2s while Oladipupo Kabirat and Oluojo Marvellous were second and third in 5:59.2s and 6:11.4s respectively. The trio represented Olapade Track Club.  

 

Speaking with Athletic Heat after her race, Wahaab said, 

“I feel very happy winning the 1 mile though my main events are the 800m and 1500m. I just used the 1 mile as a season opener
“. 

Wahaab is student of Homat College, Ikorodu who started training last year. She hopes to take her athletics career to the highest level and become a medalist for Nigeria at the Olympics someday.  

Akhigbe’s Ebuzoeme Ona won the men’s event with 4:59.2s. Timilehin Adeyemi almost pipped Ona bur he finished in second place with 5:00.5s while Olapade’s Fatai Kazeem ran 5:03.9s to finish third.
  
In the Women’s 300m, Ruth Usoro of Esteem Club had the overall best time winning heat 2 with a blazing Personal Best of 39.7s. MoC’s Ifunaya Moughalu followed closely to place second overall with a time of 40.1s. Joy Udo Gabriel also representing MoC was impressive in her heat especially in the last 40m of the race where she overhauled more experienced athlete, Rashidat Lawal and won with a time of 40.8s to finish 3rd overall.  

In the men’s event, MoC’s Jeremiah Jakpa was the guy to beat winning his heat so easily and confidently with a Personal Best of 33.0s. If he had pushed more, he obviously would have done a sub-33s. Eagle Sight’s Abejoye Oyeniyi was ranked overall second with a time of 33.7s while Peter Edwin of MoC was in third place overall running a time of 34.7s.

Away from the track, in the horizontal jump, Isa Esther who is known for her prolific technique in the Women’s High Jump competed in the 7 stride Long Jump event winning with a leap of 4.61m while Adesina Temitope also of Eagle Sight was in second place with 3.76m. 

Nigeria’s Decathlon champion, Peter Moreno of Eagle Sight won the men’s event in 6.21m. Olufarati Dare of Mega Rock was in second with 5.90m while Godwin Monday of Eagle Sight settled for third place with 5.66m. 

Benjamin Timothy won the men’s Over weight throw with 10.85m. NSCDC’s Olatunji Wale and Uzo Egbeogu were second and third with a throw of 10.21m and 8.02m respectively. 

National Champion, Feyisayo Daramola of NSCDC took the Women’s victory throwing 6.65m. Omizi Sophiat and Cecilia Ekoeyong of Christabel club finished second and third respectively with 6.01m and 5.63m. 

The relays are usually the most interesting events in any competition and Team MoC cleared all the relay races.  

Team MoC sprinted to victory in the 4x200m Men and Women events with a Personal Best of 1:28.0s and 1:42.8s respectively. 

Team Eagle Sight and Olapade Club were second and third in the men’s event returning 1:29.2s and 1:34.1s. 
While Eagle Sight and Esteem Club finished second and third in the women’s event with a time of 1:44.2s and 1:48.7s.

4x800m men’s Relay marked the end of the successful competition with Saheed Jimoh, Tomisin Aderuku, Ona Ebuzoeme and Segun Akhigbe taking the victory once again for Team MoC with 8:38.7s. Eagle Sight hanged on till the last 100m where MoC outran them to put them in second place with 8:40.8s while Team Laspotech were in third place with 9:48.4s.

There were five outstanding athletes at the meet and they are; Jeremiah Jakpa (300m), Ruth Usoro (300m), Segun Akhigbe (500m), Blessing Obarierhu (500m) and Wahaab Zaniab (1 mile).  

Speaking to an elated Obarierhu, she said 

“It’s really encouraging and it’s doesn’t make me feel after we are just training and since it’s the first competition of the year I know good fortunes are coming my way and it also makes me know I have to improve more for my next competition.” 

Looking ahead for The African Junior Championships and what we should expect, the 17 year old had this to say, 

“You should expect much more  from me because I’m not just training for training sake, I’m looking forward to run marvellously at the African Junior Championships and I want to thank Making Of Champions because without them I wouldn’t have been here today and I don’t think I would have ran a Personal Best without them. I thank them especially for bringing me down from Ikorodu, putting me in a school here and their support so far has been tremendous.” 

Each outstanding athlete got a token of NGN2000 while the winners in the relays won a cash prize of NGN8000 each.

The next TAFCAN Lagos meet would hold next 3 weeks.

NB: All performances were hand timed.  


Photo Credit: Making Of Champions 

2017 Season kicks off for Nigerian athletes as TAFCAN holds 1st Coaches Challenge in Lagos!

Nigerian athletes and coaches are set to begin the 2017 season with the annual Coaches Challenge hosted by the Track and Field Coaches Association  of Nigeria (Lagos chapter) tomorrow, Friday January 27th at Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere,  Lagos by 10am. 

According to TAFCAN Lagos Facebook page, the competition is the regular coaches assessment. 

“We are set to start yet a new season with our regular coach assessment trials but this is tagged TAFCAN COACHES OVER DISTANCE RACE since the season is still early.”

Athletes are expected to compete in over distance events such as 300m,  500m,  1 mile and 5000m. While for the throwers, they would compete in the Over weight Shot Put and Hammer throw.  The Jumpers are not left out as they will compete in the 7 Strides Jump event. 4x200m and 4x800m relays would close the day for the exciting meet.  All events are open to both male and female. 

This is an initiative by the TAFCAN Lagos chapter that is being applauded by athletic buffs and it should be replicated across other chapters.  It hopes to boost the athletes morale and performance as they prepare for the season which would commence in April.

Goodluck to the athletes! 
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Nigeria’s Mercy Abire named Summit League Athlete of the Week

Oral Robert’s Freshman,  Mercy Abire who has been impressively exceptional since she began competing for The Golden Eagles in December, 2016 winning the Women’s Long Jump event at the 2016 Bob Timmons Challenge with a then Personal Best of 5.74m. Ever since then Abire never looked back as shw was sure to finish in Top 3 in all the meetings she participated. 

Abire’s great performance at The Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs over the weekend was too good to be overlooked. 

She finished first in the Long Jump with a Personal Best of 20’0.25″ (6.10m) smashing her former PB by .02m which she set at Arkansas Invitational two weeks ago and her performance placed her 20th on the NCAA Division I ranking and second in the Summit League. 

Away from the field, Abire finished third in the 60m in 7.68s after setting a PB of 7.63s in the prelims at the same competition. 

This would be  Abire’s second time running the 60m Indoor having placed 3rd at the Bill Easton Classic on Jan. 06 with a then Personal Best of 7.66s. 

One thing is sure about the youngster, anytime she steps on the track or Jump pitch, she tends to do better than her previous performance.  



Yesterday, it was officially announced by oruathletics.com that Mercy Abire earned Women’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week award for her performance between Jan. 17-23.
 
She is the 2016 All Nigeria Championships bronze medalist in the Long Jump and one of the most consistent Jumpers during the 2016 AFN Golden League series.  She was  under the tutelage of Coach Olu Sule. 

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Fasasi, Amusan storms to new Personal Best’s over the  weekend 

It was a weekend full of activities for Nigerian athletes schooling in The US as they spread across New Mexico, Tennessee and Virginia to compete for their various schools.  

Photo Credit: Making Of Champions 

University of Florida Sophomore, Kunle Fasasi who has been impressive and promising since the beginning of the 2017 season having previously run a Personal Best and National Indoor Record in the 300m of 33.09s at Clemson Orange and Purple Classic on January 7th erasing Innocent Egbunike’s 26-year old former National Record.  

This weekend he competed for his school track team,  The Gators at Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg,  Virginia running the 400m where he ran another Personal Best of 46.53s. His achievement is the fastest time this season by 0.15s and only 0.22s off the program’s All-time Indoor Top 10 list.  

Away from Virginia, some Nigerian’s representing University of Texas,  El Paso (UTEP) where at the Univ. Of New Mexico Cherry and Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, N. M.  
The star athlete of the meet was our homegirl, Tobiloba Amusan who was unstoppable in the 60m hurdles  and  200m. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images 

On Day 1 of the two-day event, Amusan won her 60mh qualifying round with a then Personal Best of 8.12s and took the victory  in the women’s  200m final with a time of 23.56s. IAAF World Indoor finalist, Ada Benjamin finished 9th overall in the event, running 24.43s. Amusan also hurdled to victory on the final day,  January 21st in the 60mh  in another Personal Best of 8.08s. Micha Auzenne of San Diego  clinched the Silver medal in 8.11s  and Evonne Britton won the Bronze medal in 8.18s. Her time is the ninth fastest time in the nation and second in UTEP history. 

Another Nigerian, Yinka Oyebanjo also representing UTEP Miners competed in the men’s 200m and 400m finishing 8th and 4th in his heats but 25th and 23rd overall with a time of 22.83s and 51.83s respectively. 

Florence Uwakwe was in action in the 400m running 54.49s to win her heat but she was ranked 2nd overall.  

Oyebanjo
later teamed up with Alejandro Alcazar,  Carvellion Horn and Esteban Montanez to finish 7th in the men’s 4x400m with a time of 3:22.93s. While Ada Benjamin and  Florence Uwakwe alongside Imani Adams and Madison Gabison won the women’s 4x400m in 3:42.25s.
 
Meanwhile at Nashville, Tennessee. The Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University were slugging it out on the track.  
In the 4x400m, the tandem of Adeniji Adedamola,  Sampson Laari,  Eliud Rutto and Ifiok Umoh took 7th place with a relay time of 3:14.18s.

Photo Credit: Instagram 

To close the day,  Middle Tennessee women’s relay squad of Loveth Odia,  Agnes Abu,  Janet Amphonsah and Abike Egbeniyi clocked a fourth place finish with a time of 3:40.23s. 

At the USAF Academy in Colorado, Mercy Abire and Akerele Omeiza made their presence felt at the Air Force Invitational on Friday, January 20th. 

Photo Credit: oruathletics.com
 
Abire finished tops in the women’s Long Jump which is her major discipline in 6.10m while in the 60 meters, she clinched the bronze medal with a time of 7.68s. 
For African Junior bronze medalist, Akerele,  he finished in top-three taking second in the 200m with a time of 21.43s and third in the 60m with 6.81s. 

It is worthy to note that Omeiza’s time in the 200m  is the fastest in the Summit League.  

Up next.  
Florida Gators will be at Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville,  AR on Friday 27th and Sat. 28th January. 

ORU will be heading to Pittsburgh, Kansas on January 28th for the Pittsburgh State Invitational.  

Next stop for MTSU  Blue Raiders is the Kevin Stephen Invite next weekend. 

The UTEP Miners will return to the Albuquerque Convention Center on the 3rd and 4th of February for the New Mexico Classic.  

We wish them all the best as they compete!  

I’m treated as a home-based athlete – Robert Simmons 

simmons-2



Robert Simmons is a quatermiler who started competing in the Nigeria in 2014. He is a six-time All American, four-time SEC champion and 2014 African Championships Silver medalist with a Personal Best of 45.84s.  He speaks to Athletic Heat on his life as an athlete,  problems of Nigerian Athletics and his candid advice to young athletes who wants to succeed  amongst other things. 


Can you briefly talk about yourself?


I’m a 400m specialist. Victor Omagbemi is my uncle and former coach. I was not recruited or paid to compete for Nigeria. I have never been paid by anyone to come to Nigeria and run. My training and coaching has been paid for on my own. I received no funding or money I’m treated the same as home base.

 

simmons.jpg



How long have you been running for Nigeria?



Three seasons.
So what has the experience been running for Nigeria?



If you watch any film of Nigeria men 4×4, I have been the key factor in keeping the team competitive in 2015 they gave me the baton in 5th behind Ghana, Botswana, Kenya and Algeria. I closed the gap and made it competitive unfortunately our final leg was not healthy and able to perform his best works. In relays I get baton in 7th I bring the team to second place then we lost because our team was not strong, same thing in Penn Relay last time we men won a medal was silver all Africa champs 2014 and we went to the wire with Botswana now we are the laughing stock of Africa. My experience has been bitter-sweet due to injuries and lack of funding and lack of understanding on many different sides. I have personally had to console athlete who threaten not to compete at the big meet due to no money at 2015 World Relays and Penn Relays they only gave us $125 for three weeks and had Miles Ukoama paying for other athletes bags. They sent Lawreta (Ozoh) and Divine (Oduduru) and Coach Dan to USA and myself and coach had to pay out of pocket for the meals lodging and travel.
But you weren’t at any of the 2016 meetings, why is that?



I was not at able because I refuse to pay my own to any of the meets and be lied to when they say they will pay me back. They owe a friend of mine from Grand Prix way back in 2009 they never pay the money they owe. Last year I got Tega (Odele) and Ogho (Egwero) into the Madrid IAAF meeting, the federation force them to miss the meet.

What do you deduce from all this, is the problem of the Nigerian Athletics Federation?


The problem is AFN,  nothing ever goes right. There is no planning, no coordination, no trust. It’s like a circus coaches don’t even trust the AFN. The AFN doesn’t appreciate or respect the athletes and their effort. 



Did you ever get to compete for USA?



I ran USA Jr only never on a senior level.

How do you do as an individual develop yourself?



Me personally I’m different. See! A person can’t tell me what I can’t do because that just clarifies that I can do it and that person doesn’t want me to do it. I use that negative energy and thoughts to motivate myself and prove the doubters wrong. It’s not easy for me but it’s very different because I live in USA, most home base are not given the advantage I have by living abroad you know like the work force and everything.



What are this advantages you have over an home based athlete?



One of the advantage I have is that I am allowed to work for a decent wage and train so I can pay for some travel to meets and not miss out as well as medical treatment and etc. Most home based athletes get hurt and then they are injured for long time due to no money or treatment. Again being in USA and training is not easy whatsoever. It’s hard, very hard but more manageable I honestly considered moving to train in Abuja last year but that dream was dashed when I realized they don’t want to pay.



What do you do in your training that is key to your success?

What I do in my training is I treat it like race day I make sure every rep counts and that I go through my race day routine and strategy over and over. I try to mentally simulate the race day feelings so that I can be be prepared to conquer them on that day.



You said earlier that you are related to Victor Omagbemi. What state do you come from and do you have family members back here in Nigeria?



Haha! It’s funny you ask that but my family originates from Delta state. If you noticed some people changed their names on the passport I never did because I know my heritage.
Its just for people to be cleared on that aspect because most people have this feeling that you were also imported?



Nah! I told you I’m not a slave to AFN they don’t own me, they did not buy me, pay me nor do they assist me with nothing, so being imported is not me. To be imported means someone has to pay for it then bring it to the next country that never happened in my case

So what was the best advice you have ever been given?



Best advice given to me was just run for the love of the sport. The money will come and I encourage others to do so if they run for Nigeria to pay them they will run for the rest of their life for pennies. If they run for the love of the sport and competition then they can go places and see the world.

 

What makes you different from other athletes?  



Only thing that separates me from anyone else is what the clock reads when I cross the finish line besides that we are all human and created equal.



What’s the biggest challenge you have faced on the track and how did you manage the pain?



Biggest challenge I have faced is financially travel, coaching and medical it’s not cheap and it’s a fine line between managing it all. I Manage the pain by using it to motivate myself to over come and be great true champions are those who can endure.

What do you aim to achieve through sport?



I want to be champion but a leader and help change the dynamic of things that have plagued Nigeria sport helping change things would be more to me than a medal because it will help the younger generations. 



Lastly, what’s your advice to young athletes? 



My advice to upcoming athletes is run for the love of the sport and to better your life but not through Nigeria university, use the UK and US system to get a education, dual citizenship and get better. If they have question they need to message me or call me. Ask, I helped Omezia (Akerele) and Fasasi (Kunle) get in college. Gabriel Okon and myself have never seen eye to eye but when he told me his story I respect him more and we both have the same goal. It’s sad I see people like Patience (Okon), Amaka (Ogbegbunam) , Ogho (Egwero) , Obinna (Metu) , Orukpe (Erayokan) and Divine (Oduduru) had these young people went to school in NCAA they would have nice contract and be at big meets because they would have shown that they can run with the USA best and do well. The reason I say such is because they would have won multiple NCAA titles. My heart hurts for the youth as some of these people try to ruin they life with bad decisions telling them go pro running 10.3s, 10.2s, 46s etc. It’s crazy but my advice is run for the love of sport and change your life and forget Nigeria and AFN take them out the question and focus on you. If I know Golden League no pay why stay and keep running for free? The athletes just have to reach out to us that know and we will help. 



Are you saying they should leave Nigeria and find solace in another country?



Never! But if they leave for USA college when they come to Nigeria for national trials or anything, money won’t be the issue. Look at Chidi, Blessing, Fassasi. The people that was in college that come home for trials, the school fly them back to Nigeria and makes sure they are good and set. They don’t complain of money etc.



Thanks for your time.

Okagbare,  Ogunlewe nominated for 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians

Athletic Heat is dedicated to promoting Nigerian Track and Field athletes and it brings us great joy when our athletes are being recognized for their achievements.

 

Towards the end of 2016, Nigeria’s fastest man Seye Ogunlewe was nominated for “The Future Awards Prize for Sports” and just recently, he alongside Nigeria’s Fastest Woman and 7-time National Champion, Blessing Okagbare were nominated for the 2016 100 Most Influential Young Nigerian Award (Sports).

 
The list which reflects the achievement of young Nigerians throughout the year 2016 was streamlined in 10 distinct categories which represents key sectors across Nigeria’s economy.

 Seye Ogunlewe (Instagram) 

Seye came into limelight in 2014 when he won the 100m Silver medal at the 2014 All Nigeria Championships in Calabar and made the National team to The Commonwealth Games and African Senior Championships. He came back in 2015 to take the title and edged out Egwero Ogho-Oghene and Divine Oduduru at the 2016 National Championships cum Olympic Trials winning with a Personal Best of 10.12s to defend his title. He was at The Rio Olympic Games where he competed in the 100m flat. 2016 was a remarkable year for the gangly sprinter as he signed with Temple Management Company and bagged a sponsorship deal from Union Bank Nigeria. He is a Law and Politics graduate of The University of Essex, UK.

 

.
Blessing Okagbare (Getty Imges)

Meanwhile for the former African Record Holder Blessing Okagbare, 2016 might not have been a great year for her but the 2008 Olympic Long Jump Bronze medalist would take solace having won the 2016 National titles in the 100m and 200m in her hometown Sapele, Delta state to make it her 7th consecutive victory in the 100m. Despite losing her title as the African Fastest Woman to Cote D’Ivoire’a Murielle Ahoure by .01s and not making the final in both of her individual events at The 2016 Rio Games, the UTEP graduate helped Nigeria secure a place in the Final of the 4x100m wherein they finished 8th overall. Okagbare is a Double Gold medalist at The Commonwealth Games and also holds the Games Record of 10.85s in the 100m and the fourth Woman to win Gold in 100m and 200m at the Games since it’s inception. Interestingly, Okagbare is one of the only two ladies that made it to the Sports category.

 
To vote for either of our two great athletes, log unto ng.advancemedia.org/ and vote for Seye Ogunlewe and Blessing Okagbare (Sports). Voting last till 20th of January. You can vote as many times as possible!

Let’s bring it home Champs!