Day 3 of the African Senior Athletics Championship holding in Asaba has been a marvelous outing for Team Nigeria, as the host nation continues to sweep away the rest of Africa with dominant, scintillating performances.
It has been a harvest of gold, gold and more gold!
Women’s 4 X 100M
This was a straight fight between Nigeria and Ivory Coast, as the hosts led by Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Rosemary Chukwuma and rising national sensation Joy Udo-Gabriel faced a strong opposition in the form of 100 metres African empress Ta Lou Marie Josée and company.
Youthful Joy Udo-Gabriel ran the first leg, and gave Team Nigeria enough will with her pace and burning enthusiasm.
Veteran African winner Blessing Okagbare anchored the second leg; and she glady handed the barton to another rising heroine Tobi Amusan.
It was all done and dusted as Rosemary Chukwuma ran the final leg, coasting home to victory.
Indeed Team Nigeria delivered, coasting home in a time of 43.77 seconds, leaving the Asaba crowd in delirium.
It was another feather in the hat for Nigeria, as Ese Brume equaled her seasons best (SB) mark of 6.83m when she won her third gold medal at the African Championships She therefore becomes the first athlete (man or woman) to win three gold medals at the Championships.
She won the title two years ago in Durban and four years ago in Marrakech.
The victory was even sweeter for her as she performed the fit before her fellow Deltans.
South Africa’s duo of Marthe Koala & Lynique Beneke were the Silver and Bronze medalist, leaping to 6.54 metres & 6.38 metres respectively.
It’s always a thing of pride when you get a second chance to win a gold medal after failing before.
Chioma Onyekwere did just that as she upgraded her bronze medal from Durban two years ago to clinch victory in the women’s Discus Throw final with a mark of 68.09m.
Nigeria also snatched the silver medal as Chinwe Okoro finished second.
Lightening strike twice?
The buoyed crowd knew the men’s 4X100 metres final was always going to be a tough one, especially against the South African team basking in the 100 metres victory of Akani Simbine on Thursday.
Nigeria’s quartet of Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Divine Oduduru, Emmanuel Arowolo and Seye Ogunlewe put up a stiff fight, but were just edged by Team South Africa who strolled to another gold in the final of the men’s 4x100m in a time of 38.25 seconds, leaving Team Nigeria to settle with Silver.
Now nobody ever doubted that the women’s 400 metres final was South Africa’s Caster Semeyma to lose.
The powerhouse has been burning the tracks….like forever.
Nigeria’s Yinka Ajayi had national pride at stake, and despite Semeya storming to yet another not-to-be-unexpected-win, Ajayi gave the nation a lot to cheer as she picked up the bronze medal, making her first individual medal for the country.
First try, not bad!
One common feature of Nigerian sports in the last couple of years is countrymen and women in the diaspora coming back to represent Africa’s largest nation on the global sporting stage.
That is the story of Temilola Ogunrinde, who on her national debut threw 67.39m to win the Silver medal in women’s Hammer Throw.
That’s a new national record!
Day 3 has surely been a good day at the office for Team Nigeria, as the nation showed its strength in its traditional strong events, while being competitive in others.
If it continues like this on Saturday, Nigeria will emerge the overall winner