Africa: Athletics – Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya Battle for Supremacy

By Salifu Usman


One of the main features of the 18th African Athletics Championship (AAC) which kicks off today at the Stade d’Lamite in Port Novo, Benin Republic will be the rekindling of the age long rivalry between Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya in the track and field. Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) under Solomon Ogba has in recent time worked hard in trying to reposition Team Nigeria as a force to be reckoned with in Africa.

The 18th AAC provides a perfect ground for Nigerian athletes aiming to shock the world during the forthcoming 2012 London Olympic Games to showcase the stuff they are made up of having been beaten to the second spot by host, Kenyan two years ago in Nairobi. Nigeria is represented in the biannual championship with a total of 44 athletes and six coaches. The contingent which is made up of 19 male and 25 female athletes is aiming at surpassing their second placed position behind hosts Kenya with eight gold, five silver and five bronze medals gotten at the last edition of the championship. This edition will be a straight fight between Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the host, Benin who are also hosting to win.

Already, the organizers are doing all within their means to frustrate Team Nigeria and deny them any chance of winning the championship. One of the ways has been the taking of the Nigerian team’s accommodation out of the hosting venue, Port-Novo to Cotonou. The implication is that Nigeria’s contingent will have to travel for about an hour by road every day to participate.

The athletes for the championship include; Men’s 100m, 200m, 4x100m runners; Obinna Metu, Ogho Oghene Egwero, Stanley Azie, Ike Patrick Chinedu, Seye Ogunlewe, Peter Emelieze and Durotoye Adetoyi.

For the 400m and 4x400m event, Nigeria will be represented by Abiola Onakoya, Segun Ogunkole, Isah Salihu, Saul Weigopwa, Tobi Ogunmola, Noah Akwu and Godday James. In the 100m hurdles; Samuel Okon and Nurudeen Selim will fly Nigeria’s flag while Amaechi Morton will be Nigeria’s ambassador in the 400m hurdles. For the Long Jump and triple jump, Stanley Gbagbeke and Tosin Oke will represent Nigeria.

In the Women’s categories, Beijing Olympics bronze medalist, Blessing Okagbare, Gloria Asumnu, Lawretta Ozoh, Christy Udoh, Oludamola Osayomi and Isoken Wisdom will raise Nigeria’s flag in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, while in the 400m, 4x400m relay, Regina George, Omolara Omotosho, Bukola Abogunloko, Endurance Abinuwa, and Margaret Etim will race to make Nigeria proud. The 100m hurdles have Seun Adigun and Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa. While the 400m hurdles have Ajoke Odumosu and High Jump queen Doreen Amata.

In the Long Jump, Nigeria’s newly decorated champion, Blessing Okagbare and home grown girl Chinasom Amadi who jumped 6.62 metres in Calabar last week will compete for Team Nigeria. — Leadership (Abuja)



Posted by on Jun 27 2012. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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