Enoch Adegoke breaks 24-year old CR to win 100m title, as Ofili and Chukwuma add more Gold medals for Nigeria on Day 2
The race to determine Africa’s fastest junior athlete was between Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke, and the South African duo of Luke Davids and Phatushedzo Maswanganyi, at the ongoing African U20 Championships in Abidjan.
Coming to the championship with a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.36s which was the leading junior time in the continent, Adegoke was the favourite for the coveted title but with Davids (10.42s) and Maswanganyi (10.44s), willing to put a fight that will retain their bragging right as the best sprinting nation in the continent.
The rounds gave flashes on what to expect in the final, having Adegoke run the fastest time of 10.46s in the Heats and Davids with the second fastest time.
In the semis there was a reversal, as Davids crossed the line fastest with 10.55s and Adegoke with 10.59s, throwing a mouth-watering clash on what to expect in the final.
Their clash lived up to expectation, witnessing the South Africans having better starts 30-40m into the race, but Adegoke had the extra speed and strength for the last phase.
He crossed the finish line in a new SB of 10.27s, thereby breaking Ibrahim Meite’s Championship Record (CR) of 10.32s set back in 1995. Maswanganyi finished 2nd ahead of teammate, Davids.
This means the Nigerian has stayed unbeaten this year, and will now have his eyes set at hitting the world championship standard of 10.10s.
Meanwhile in the women’s category, Rosemary Chukwuma erased every doubt on being back to her top shape or losing her dominance in the continent.
The Youth Olympic Champion left the block later than the rest of the field, but once she hit her maximum velocity and was miles ahead, there was no stopping her. She eventually crossed the finish line in a new SB of 11.62s.
South Africa’s Rose Xeyi, who came in as the fastest in the field settled for 2nd, while Nigerian junior champion, Grace Nwokocha got the last podium placement.
In the U18 400m, Nigeria’s Favor Ofili continued on her brilliant season by producing one of the jaw dropping performances on the day.
The reigning African Youth Games 400m Champion, clocked an outstanding Personal Best (PB) of 52.27s to shrug off the threats from Kenya’s Linda Kagetla with 52.52s and Ghana’s Grace Obour’s 52.59s.
Noteworthy is that Ofili’s time shaved over 1s from her previous PB of 53.54s, and racing in Abidjan was her first 400m race of the year. She opened her season at the Nigerian junior championships last month, where she clocked a 200m PB of 23.74s to win the title.
Her 400m victory now makes her favourite for the 200m title as well, as she’s the fastest in the continent in the event and will be competing later today.
Other medallists for Team Nigeria on the day were: Iruoghene Okoro in the Boy’s 100m getting the Bronze medal in a PB of 10.65s, behind South Africa’s duo of Ndidou Vuyo (10.61s) and Eckardt Potgieter (10.64s).
It was same colour of medal in the girl’s category, as Favor Ofoku settled for 3rd in a race won by South Africa. While in the women’s 400m, Glory Patrick got the last podium placement as well.
In the field events, Olaoluwa Olatunde sealed his name as Nigeria’s brightest rising prospect in the Long Jump, surprisingly winning the Bronze medal in the boy’s event, as Esther Osisike also finished 3rd in the girl’s Discus event.
Currently Team Nigeria tops the medals table with 10 medals (5 Gold and 5 Bronze), as more events will be decided today in which more medals are expected to be won.