Ok­ag­bare wins sev­enth na­tional 100m ti­tle

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Nige­ria’s queen of the tracks Bless­ing Ok­ag­bare yes­ter­day claimed her sev­enth All-Nige­ria Cham­pi­onships 100m ti­tle with a time of 11.02 secs on the open­ing day of this year’s edi­tion of Cham­pi­onships in Sapele, Delta State.

Ok­ag­bare, who was con­spic­u­ously miss­ing dur­ing last year’s Cham­pi­onships in Warri, left no one in doubt that she was back to wres­tle away her ti­tle from last year’s win­ner Glo­ria Asumnu when she ef­fort­lessly won her semi-fi­nal race with a time of 11.22secs.

Yes­ter­day’s feat by Ok­ag­bare is her sea­son’s best, and she quickly told jour­nal­ists af­ter her vic­tory that she will not rest on her oars as she ex­pects tougher con­test in Rio Olympics.

“I am fo­cused on my­self, I am not think­ing of what oth­ers are do­ing,” Ok­ag­bare stated.

Peace Ukoh came sec­ond with 11.37sec while Glo­ria Asumnu fin­ished third with 11.38secs to com­plete the women’s 100m top three.

Aside Ok­ag­bare, an­other head­line per­for­mance on the open­ing day of the Nige­ria Olympic tri­als came from Ant­won Hicks who sets a new na­tional record (sub­ject to rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the AFN) in the men’s 110m hur­dles event.

Hicks’ win­ning time of 13.27 secs erased the pre­vi­ous record held by Williams Erese who set a time 13.42secs in the United States in 2003.

The win­ning time has also qual­i­fied the for­mer Amer­i­can run­ner for the Rio Olympics where he will be don­ning the colours of Nige­ria in Rio Games.

Speak­ing with jour­nal­ists af­ter the race, Hicks said he felt very re­lieved to now have the Olympic stan­dard af­ter a cou­ple of un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts.

“All year, I have been beat­ing it (the stan­dard) but it didn’t count be­cause the re­sults have been windy, this was one of my last races to get it done and I am happy I have done just that and also set a new na­tional record. Am pretty sure this time will be among the top 20 times in the world at the mo­ment,” Hicks said.

In to­day’s events, a keen con­test is also ex­pected in male’s race where Divine Oduduru and Eg­wero Ogho-Oghene al­ready wet the ap­petite of fans with their 10.23 win­ing times in their re­spec­tive heats yes­ter­day.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Seyi Ogunelwe also won his heat but with a slower time of 10.25secs.

In some of the other events held yes­ter­day, Deb­o­rah Pam of NSDC won the 5,000 with 17.23.50, Olu­midi Aderonke and Nuhu El­iz­a­beth came sec­ond and third with a time of 17.38.06 and 17.44.20 secs re­spec­tively.

In the men’s ver­sion, Em­manuel Gyang won in a time of 14.52.75secs while the duo of Stephen Joshua and Solomon Yil­bam came sec­ond and third re­spec­tively.

In the Women’s Dis­cuss, Nwan­neka Ok­we­l­ogu fin­ished tops with her throw of 52.93m.

In the women’s 800m fi­nal, Ihekandu Philom­ena was first with her time of 2.06.98secs while Lagos ath­lete Alabi Ami­nat was 2nd with a time of 2.10.66secs and Linda Fri­day came third post­ing a time of 2.11.05 secs.

Ha­mad­jan Soudi claimed the top spot in the men’s 800m race; fin­ish­ing with a time of 1.49.80secs.

As widely ex­pected, favourites for the 400m women’s event, Ge­orge Pa­tience Okon and Regina Ge­orge won their heats and will be go­ing head-on in to­day’s fi­nal.

The 2016 All-Nige­ria Cham­pi­onships is serv­ing as Olympic trial to be used in se­lect­ing Team Nige­ria to the Rio Olympics.

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