Nigeria’s quest for a harvest of medals in the track and field events of the 12th African Games ongoing in Rabat, Morocco, is very much on course as the country’s big names are all set to compete.
From Blessing Okagbare to Divine Oduduru and even hurdler Tobi Amusan, the roster for Nigeria as reflected in the start-lists for the athletics event gives room for optimism.
Oduduru will be leading the charge for Nigeria in the men’s 100m. The 2019 NCAA double sprint champion will be joined by Reigning 100m National Champion in the event, Usheoritse Itsekiri as well as Raymond Ekevwo, who is second-fastest Nigerian over the distance in 2019.
In the women’s category, Blessing Okagbare, who may be taking part in her last African Games will rekindle her rivalry against Ivory Coast duo of Murielle Ahoure and Marie Jose Ta Lou.
Africa Championships Bronze medallist, Joy Udo-Gabriel and Aniekeme Alphonsus are also listed to jostle for honors for Nigeria in the event.
Itsekiri will double up in the 200m, as he will be joined by 2017 National Champion Seye Ogunlewe and Emmanuel Arowolo.
Like Itsekiri, Alphonsus will also run the 200m, with the duo of Africa U18 Championships double Champion Favour Ofili and 2018 Youth Olympics champion Rosemary Chukwuma also making up the list for Nigeria in the event.
The men’s 400m will see Nigeria’s fastest quarter-miler in 2019 and Reigning National champion Emmanuel Ojeli takes to the track alongside Chidi Okezie and 2017 National Champion, Samson Nathaniel.
In the female category of the quarter-mile, Nigeria’s hope will be pinned on the trio of Patience Okon-George, Ofili and Amarachukwu Obi.
National Record Holder in the 800m, Edose Ibadin is the only runner to make the start-list for Team Nigeria in the event.
Africa and Commonwealth Games Champion, Tobi Amusan is certainly the bookies favorite to win the women’s 100m Hurdles and she is joined by Grace Ayemoba for the event.
Abejoye Oyeniyi is the only male athlete to get listed in the men’s 110m Hurdles.
Timothy Emoghene and Rilwan Alowonle will be battling for honours for Nigeria in the men’s 400m Hurdles, while Abasiamo Akpan will be the sole representative in the women’s 400m Hurdles.
In the field events, Commonwealth Games Silver medallist Chukwuebuka Enekwechi will be joined by Ayomitoju Ogundeji in the men’s Shot Put, while Chioma Onyekwere and Adetola Olatoye will do battle for Nigeria in the women’s category.
With no representative in the men’s Discus, the trio of Onyekwere, Princess Kara and Ifeoma Anumba were listed to compete for Nigeria in the women’s category.
Africa Championship triple GOLD medallist, Ese Brume will be competing in the women’s Long Jump alongside Grace Anigbata.
In the relays, Enoch Adegoke, Seye Ogunlewe, Raymond Ekevwo, and Ogho-Oghene Egwero are to compete in the men’s 4x100m relay, while in the women’s 4x100m, Bukola Adekunle, Mercy Ntia-Obong, Nwokwocha Nzubechi and Blessing Ogundiran have been listed.
Sikiru Adeyemi, Shedrack Akpeki, Orukpe Eraiyokan, and Edose Ibadin will do battle for Nigeria in the men’s 4x400m relay where Nigeria is also hoping to qualify for the World Championships in Doha laetr in the year.
The quartet of Abasiamo Akpan, Okon-George, Blessing Oladoyeand Rita Ossai will run in the women’s category.
Athletics, which many see as the pick of the punch from the numerous other sports being competed for at the African Games, will start on Monday, August 26.
Source: Okagbare, Oduduru to lead Nigeria’s quest for…
By Tunde Eludini
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