NUGA set to hold in April! 


MARKURDI – The much anticipated and long awaited Nigerian University Games (NUGA) is now set to hold between April 19th to 30th 2017 at the University of Agriculture Markurdi, Benue state. 

The last NUGA was held in 2014 at the Obafemi Awolowo University ,  Osun state with Team  Uniport winning overall first position,  Unilag in second while host OAU was in third position. 

According to a reliable source, the Games which was meant to have taken place since 2015 was delayed due to lack  of sporting facilities at the host University. 

At the time filing all the facilities are still not ready, so some of the university facilities would be used with a number of other facilities in the town while Athletics and Swimming would be in Abuja. 

The major objectives of NUGA are:

Promotion of friendship through participation in sporting activities among University students in Nigeria

Development of sports facilities in Nigerian Universities

Enhancing the development of sports in Nigeria through contribution of elite athletes from University sports competitions to the national teams.


Fifteen sports are organized during the NUGA Games namely:

Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Chess, Cricket, Football, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis and Volleyball. Apart from Cricket and Football all other sports are organized for Men and Women.

Universities across the nation have organised in-house trails for their students as they await the Zonal prelims which will hold in the first week of April and the universities would be grouped into seven zones. 

Athletic Heat wish all student-athletes the very best as they jostle for laurels for their various institute of learning.

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The secret behind my success – Tobi Amusan

​​Amusan Tobi is a rising Track and Field athlete who competes in the 100m flat and hurdles, 200m and Long Jump. She was the 100mh Gold medalist at the African Junior Championships and All-Afrixa Games in 2015. 

Tobi is a 2016 Olympian with C-USA Track Athlete of the Year, C-USA Outdoor Freshman of the Meet, NCAA 100mh Silver medalist and NCAA Outdoor All-American First team to show for it. She recently broke UTEP’s 200m and equalled the 60mh indoor records. 

The World U20 100mh Leader talks to Athletic Heat on her recent successes, the World Junior Championships and how going to the US turned things around. 

Enjoy!


Can you tell us who Tobi Amusan is? 

Haha. Amusan Tobi is a Girl! The last and  only troublesome child in the family of three.

 Haha.  How did your parents react initially when you told them you wanted to go into athletics?

My mother is a lover of sport Same as my dad but my mum was really in support of me going into athletics. 

How long have you been on the track ? 

4 years
 .

2015 was a breakout year for you after clinching the 100mh Gold medal at the African Junior Championship and All-Africa Games. Since then you haven’t looked back. What’s your motivation?



 God has being my greatest motivation! My motivation was all about proving to just one ‘Being’ that said I can never make headway in track & field! Each time I remember this, I train like a wounded beast. 


Proving to one ‘Being’. Can you shed more light on it?


Well.  I’m not gonna say more! 

Okay. We respect your decision.How has it been schooling in the US? 


Schooling in US is the biggest positive decision I made in my whole life. Its pretty different but all worth it. 


Tell us your first week with UTEP Miners team? 


It felt weird especially seeing new faces and my ascent was way terrible. They laughed at me everytime because I had to repeat myself faster before they understood what I was trying to say! The Team overall was great and accommodating but most times not everyone will like you!


Amusan during workout at UTEP track. 


Do you feel it would have been harder to combine school and sports in Nigeria?

Sincerely Yes , because  I transferred from a University  in Nigeria and it was pretty tough I trained once in a week and if there are competitions to attend you are on your own coz it’s automatic Carry Over. But here emails are sent to the professors so as to exempt student athletes in an exam or whatever! The professor tells you to come take the exam  before or after it depends on when they feel like so its pretty easy. Some care and other doesn’t but 98% of professors are considerate.

 Great… Recently  you  were invited for an event because your GPA is over 3.0. How do you still have good grades when you get to compete almost every week ? 


Haha. I know right but remember we are called Student Athletes both are priorities but School first !

 You recently broke UTEP 200m record and equalled the 60mh record. What goes through your mind before your race?


Mentally I am tough. I don’t care who is racing with me. My goal is always to surpass my previous time and run PR’s every time I compete. 


Last year you were the favourite to win the 100m hurdles title at the World Junior Championships  but unfortunately you finished 5th. What went wrong?


What happened was that, the girl from  US (Alexis Duncan) who raced in my semis hit my hand on the 5th hurdles and I tried fighting hard on not losing my rhythm but unfortunately she held it on d 7th and 8th hurdles which messed the whole rhythm and I was too late! A terrible day for me.


Amusan (middle) battling with USA’s Alexis Duncan (left) at 2016 World Junior Championship Poland.


 I can relate to it.  Sorry about that. 


Thanks
.

 You’re welcome. What are the challenges you face as an athlete and how do you use it to your advantage?


Well, there are so many challenges, but the bottom line is I never for once lose faith in God and I never quitted .


You
made your debut Olympic  appearance at Rio 2016 where you reached the semifinal. How did you feel rubbing shoulders with the world best hurdlers? Where you star struckked?

Sighs.  I don’t see myself as a low standard hurdler. I just see myself as a world class athlete too “Almost there don’t rush” I was a little bit star strucked especially when I was warming up. The way they approach every routine was way different from mine but I just told myself soon you will get there! 

  That’s the motivation! You have been impressive in the last one year. What is the secret behind your success. 

Yes it is! God ! My Parents! My Coach! My Spiritual Father! Few Outta My Church Pastors! My Sport Papa  & Mama ! ( Prayer, Hardwork, Unlimited Dedication ) 3 D’s Discipline, Determination & Dedication! 


What were the challenges you faced before you finally got every thing ready for US (Visa, I-20, ticket etc)? 


Like I said God always got my back. Everything came with ease! Visa, 6 students in front of me were denied. I was asked few questions and I was given !! I-20 came with ease no delay whatsoever! Ticket, as soon as I got back from AAG I had enough money to purchase that. God’s perfect timing! 


That’s awesome. What were the challenges you faced back home in Nigeria?

Nigeria … Challenges … A whole lot. I mean Challenges that almost made me quit but GOD saw me through! Not saying more on that! 


Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 


Greatest Heights…. God In Control! 


Lastly, any advice to young aspiring athletes who are reading this?


Never Quit  & let no one tell you, you can’t achieve your goals! Not even their inner selves.

Thanks so much for your time Tobi. 


It’s my pleasure.

C-USA Championships: Amusan, Odia others smash Meet Records

Birghminham, Al- It was an interesting weekend full of athletic events at the Crossplex Center. 

The two-day event began on Saturday, Feb.18th and Nigerian athletes were in attendance with some sailing through to the final as others bowed out in the heats. 

In the 60m heats, UTEP’S Florence Uwakwe ran a time of 7.53s to finish 5th to qualify while Middle Tennesse’s Charles Okeze placed 15th in the men’s event with 6.98s. 


Okeze
went on to finish 17th overall in the 200m heats (21.98s), in the women’s event wondergirl Tobi Amusan (23.93s), Uwakwe (24.09s) and Middle Tennesse’s Loveth Odia (24.14s) all qualified for the finals. 

MT’s Umoh Ifiok (48.57s) and Adeniji Adedamola (48.93s) crashed out of the men’s 400m heats while Abike Egbeniyi (53.85s), Ada Benjamin (54.77s) and Odia (54.83s) all progressed to the women’s final. 


Egbeniyi
later finished 4th in her 800m heat with 2:16.18s. 

Amusan
(8.23s) and Rebecca Oshinbanjo (8.66s) finished 1st and 4th in the their heats of the 60m hurdles to qualify for the finals. 


Amusan
who was the favourite in the women’s Long Jump couldn’t live up to expectations as the youngster finished 4th with a leap of 5.79m in the final. 

Charlotte’s Isioma Edokobi (18.55m) and Ijeoma Ugwunze (16.81m) finished 7th and 13th respectively in the women’s Weight Throw event.

The women’s heptathlon was one of the events concluded on Saturday with Charlotte’s  Amaka Awuruonye finishing 8th with 3419 points as UTEP’S Oshinbanjo placed 11th with 3284 points.

Sunday, Feb 19th wad the climax of the championships with Amusan breaking two C-USA records. 

In the 60m hurdles, Sophomore Amusan ran a blastering time of 8.01s and shaved 0.7s off the previous Record set by Jackie Coward  in 2012 . Teammate Oshinbanjo was in third place with 8.70s. 

Florence Uwakwe finished 6th in the 60m women’s final in 7.57s.

The women’s 200m was divided into Final A and B as Uwakwe finished 2nd (23.94s) in the A race. Amusan took the victory in the B Final with another Meet Record of 23.35s. Odia was in 3rd place in the race and her time of 24.29s placed her in 5th position overall. 

The women’s 400m was also split into Final A and B. Odia bettered her time from Saturday to win the A final with a PB of 53.88s. Benjamin finished 3rd in 54.30s but was ranked 4th overall. 


Abike
won B Final but her time of 53.95s could only put her in 2nd position while Jennifer Arinze was second in the race and was ranked 5th overall. 

For sure Abike was so exhausted from all the races as she finished 8th in the women’s 800m final with 2:34.23s as teammate Agnes Abu took the victory in 2:12.20s. 

The successful championships was brought to an end with the 4x400m race in which Middle Tennesse’s squad of Janet Amponsah, Agnes Abu, Abike and Odia ran a time of 3:37.53s to  break the women’s Meet Record set in 2015. 

Uwakwe and Benjamin alongside Dreashane Roller and I. Adams finished second for Utep in 3:40.69s. 

Congrats to all our athletes. We wish y’all the very best in the outdoor season. 

  

Stephanie Kalu, Regina George claims victory in Texas and Canada

Nigeria’s Stephanie Kalu blasted to victory in the women’s 60m at Texas A&M Aggie Twilight in Texas with a time of 7.29s representing New Era Sprint Club. 

Kalu started this season on a good note, winning the 60m at Leonard Hilton Memorial Meet and just last week she stormed to a  new Personal Best of 7.22s at Frisco Dunamis Sports Group Classic which currently ranks her 30th on the IAAF World ranking. 

Texas A&M alumni and 2016 Olympian, Jennifer Madu  finished 5th in the event with 7.45s. She went on to place 6th in the 200m final with a Season’s Best of 23.74s. 

In the 60mh, Chinyere Njoku of Texas A&M won the women’s event in a PB of 8.52s while Omotayo Sara finished 3rd in 9.05s. 

Over in Canada at the Grandprix d’Athletisme Montreal, 2012 Olympian Regina George won the women’s 400m with a Season’s Best of 53.78s. Canada’s  Brown Alicia in second (54.34s) while Nigeria’s Bamgbose Margaret settled for third in 55.14s. 

Photo Credit: Instagram 

It was a great comeback for Regina after finishing 5th two weeks ago at the 2017 Meyo Invite which was won by fellow compatriot Bamgbose

The elated athlete whose birthday was yesterday  took to her Instagram page to say 
“Season best with a win 💪gave myself a good birthday gift”.

It’s great to see our athletes win laurels at various meets around the world. Our biggest prayer is that when it matters most they would be able to deliver as well. 

For Updates, News and Gist like and follow us on social media…

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Nigerian athletes to watch out for at 2017 C-USA Indoor Championships

The 2017 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships is set to get under way today, February 18th at the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Alabama. 

C-USA  is a collegiate athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. 

Some Nigerian athletes who school within the area and have been exceptional  in the build-up races to the Championships have proven themselves worthy to be favourites in their discipline. 

UTEP’s  Amusan Tobi  (23.38s) would go against Middle Tennesse’s Amponsah Janet (23.93s) in the women’s 200m. 

In the 400m, it would be a horse-race between two Nigerian’s Benjamin Ada of UTEP (54.26s) and Loveth Odia of MT (54.57s). 

Meanwhile in the 800m, Middle Tennesse’s Abike Egbeniyi (2:04.47s) would battle teammate, Abu Agnes (2:04.76s) for the title. 

It would be a workover for C-USA two time Track athlete of the week Amusan in the 60m hurdles with her blazing time of 7.98s. 

Amusan also brings her winning prowess to the field as she’s also the favourite in the Long Jump with 6.15m. 

C-USA Records that might be broken.

Amusan could be the outstanding athlete of the championship in the 60mh and 200m as Jackie Coward’s 8.08s and Ebonie Floyd ‘s 23.41 records  may be gunned down if she decides to give an A-game performance in both events considering her PB’S in the events which also stands as her school records. 

Abike would be forced to break the 800m Conference record of 2:07.43s which was set by Jenny Holmes of UTEP in 2016 as she would face stiff competition from teammate Abu Agnes whose PB is 2:04.76s, .29s away from Abike’s personal record. 

Ada and Odia would have to push themselves beyond the expected in order to break Miriam Kromah’s 400m record of 53.51s. 

Blessing Okagbare’s record of 7.18s and 6.65m in the 60m and Long Jump might not be broken as Amponsah Janet (7.48s) and Amusan  (6.15m) would have to work extra hard to break her record respectively. 


No Nigerian male athlete was listed as a favourite for this championship.  


We wish all our athletes the very best as they compete.  

African Junior Athletics Championships postponed! 

The 2017 African Junior Championships in Athletics which was earlier scheduled for March was shifted to May 12-17th and  now for the second time it has been shifted. 

According to Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), the U20 Championships has been postponed to June 29 to July 2nd but it would still be held in Tlemcen, Algeria. 

Following the request by several national federations for a later date. It was decided that the Championships be moved. 

In addition to the chosen date, the Algerian Athletics Federation (FAA) also wished to have more preparation time to ensure a more successful competition.

The sports facilities at the Lalla Setti stadium to house these championships as well as the hotel infrastructures of the city were the object, it is said, last January of an inspection visit of a delegation of the African Confederation.

Below is the standard for athletes looking forward to represent their country. 

Algeria would be hosting the U20 Championships for the second time after the inaugural competition in 1994. They have also hosted the African Senior Championships in 2000 and would host again in 2020 after the 2018 edition in Lagos. 

NB: The qualification period might be extended since the competition date has been shifted. 

 Amusan equals school 60mh Record as Fasasi, Edobi others claim victory in the US

From records, atleast one or two Nigerian athletes compete in two of every five meetings in the US and it was not different last weekend as we were well represented across various Indoor Invitational in the US.

Photo Credit: Instagram 

At the New Mexico Don Kirbly Invitational in Albequerue N.M Utep’s sprint sensation Amusan Tobi couldn’t get the better of Oregon’s Sash Wallace but gave her a hot chase that led to a photo-finish decision placing Amusan in second position with both hurdlers achieving the same time of 7.99s.

She had the fastest time overall of 7.98s which she achieved in the Semifinal and it’s a new Personal Best and also equals UTEP’S 60m hurdles record that was set by Janice Jackson in 2014. Amusan now holds the third-fastest time in the US. Teammate Rebecca Oshinbajo finished 16th overall with 8.61s. 


Florence
Uwakwe finished 14th overall in the 60m with a time of 7.59s. Yinka Oyebanjo-Odofin also of Utep competed in the men’s 400m returning a time of 51.60s. 

Junior Benjamin Ada ran the 600m where she finished 3rd in a time of 1:33.24s behind Chitwood Mandy (1:31.64s) and Crozier Melese  (1:30.96s).
 
Ogundeji Dotun of UCLA bruins placed 2nd in the men’s Shot put with a throw of 19.07m. 

At Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, it was a reunion of Naija athletes as no fewer than six athletes were in attendance.

Photo Credit: Facebook 

The best performance by a Nigerian was from Florida Gators Kunle Fasasi who competed in the men’s 200m wherein he stormed to victory with a Personal Best of 20.96s. 

That was not all for the Sophomore student as he ran a split time of 46.03s in the 4x400m race, by far the fastest leadoff leg from either Invitational race. He alongside Grant Holloway ,Eric Dutch and TJ Holmes ran 3:05.14s to rank No.9 on University of Florida all-time Indoor top 10 and No. 4 ranked team in Division I. 
University of Kentucky’s Oye Ini-Oluwa placed 34th overall in the event with 22.16s. 

Texas Anumnu Charles finished 17th in the men’s 60m with 6.85s. 

Akerele Omeiza of ORU ran a time of 49.14s to place 38th in the men’s 400m event.  Omeiza’s time is the slowest time he has ran since May 2015 where he ran 1:02.69s. 

Anumnu Calton
of Texas and Purfue’s Obohkare Ikpefan occupied 43rd and 44th position with a time of 49.60s and 49.70s respectively.  

Albany ‘s Ogbonna Kingsley finished 2nd in the men’s High Jump with a height of 2.12m. 

ORU recorded multiple top 10 finishes and it was led by Nigeria ‘s Mercy Abire. The freshman competed in the women’s Long Jump with a Personal Best of 6.12m which place her 3rd and ranks her 2nd in the Summit League and in top 50 in the US.

Over at Tennesse was the Music City Challenge which was held on Friday Feb.10th. 

Middle Tennesse’s Umoh Ifiok finished 12th in the 200m with 22.06s while Charles Okeze placed 17th overall with 22.18s. 

Teammate Adedamola Adeniji was ranked 20th in the mens 400m while Umoh was 24th in 48.93s. 
Vanderblit’s Edobi Jennifer won the women’s 400m with a time of 53.47s. 

Sophomore Akindele Dayo  finished 4th in the men’s 60m hurdles with 8.06s and placed 3rd in the Triple Jump with a leap of 15.35m and 5th in the Long Jump with 7.41m representing Kennesaw state track team. 

University of Georgia ‘s Junior Orji Keturah dominated the women’s Triple Jump in a leap of 14.10m. 

All-Africa Games Silver medalist Olamigoke Olumide was one of the two Nigerian elite athletes at the Liberty Elite Invitation hosted by Liberty University at Lynchburg, VA. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images 


Olumide
finished 3rd in the men’s Triple Jump with 15.25m while Efekoro Oghenakpabo of University of Virginia was 2nd in the men’s Shot put with a throw of 19.12m. 

Liberty’s Freshman Maduka Timothy made his debut appearance for his school as he finished 15th overall in the 60m with 7.06s and 10th in the Long Jump with 6.75m. 

Virginia’s Ezunmah Chimere  finished 14th in the Women’s 200m with 25.21s and 5th in the 400m with 57.79s.

We bring our review to a close with IOWA State Classic where Adegoke Tomi placed 2nd in the men’s Long Jump with 7.06m. Okoronkwo Chinne of Wisconsin  state finished 3rd in the women’s Pole Vault with 3.80m. 

Kansas State University Senior Ariel Okorie finished 6th in the women’s 60m hurdles and Long Jump in 8.59s and 5.72m respectively. 


Omare
Omawunmi also of Kansas St. was 14th in the women’s 400m with 56.58s while Drake’s Okoye Ebele finished 25th in 57.64s.
 

Well done to all the athletes and we wish them the very best on their next meetings.