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  • Sports - Other Sports
  • Updated: June 22, 2024

Athletics Championship: Nigerian stars advance to 100m, 400m semifinals, lead medals table

Athletics Championship: Nigerian stars advance to 100m, 400m

Nigeria has climbed to the top of the medals table in the 23rd African Athletics Championships holding in Stade Japoma, Cameroon and the track and field stars have reached the semifinals of the event in their respective races so far. 

Team Nigeria have two Gold medals, one Silver and a Bronze medal but there could be more medals scooped by the end of Saturday's lineup of track events.

The first gold medal in Douala for Nigeria came through Chukwuebuka Enekwechi in the men's Shot put with a distance of 21.22m.

The feat was Enekwechi's third consecutive gold medal at the Championship after the same achievements in Asaba 2018 and Mauritius 2022 and is now tied for the most gold medals won at the African Championship by a male Shot Putter.

Nigeria also won in the women's category and made it a clean sweep of all medals as Ashley Anumba grabbed her first international medal at a major Championship.

Anumba finished her event with a 59.30m while African Games Champion, Obiageri Amaechi claimed the Silver medal with a distance of 58.80m while defending champion, Chioma Onyekwere settled for Bronze with a mark of 57.96m.

Emeka Jeffery who competed in the Decathlon event finished in 2nd place in the 100m while setting a new Personal Best (PB) of 10.60m in the Shot put to finish 4th, thereby improving on his previous best of 10.47m, set earlier this year in Asaba. 

Jeffery also placed third in the Long jump with a distance of 7.16m and won the High Jump with 2.05m. 

Team Nigeria also showed their mettle in the 100m event for men and women as they progressed to the semifinals of the Championship.

In the men's race, Kanyinsola Ajayi, the new Nigerian 100m champion, won Heat 3 with a time of 10.21s while Usheoritse Itsekiri came in 2nd in Heat 2 with 10.36s. Godson Brume finished 3rd in Heat 2 with a time of 10.51s.

It was a case of 'what the men can do, the women can also do' as the duo of Favour Ofili (11.22s) and Olajide Olayinka (11.67s) won their respective heats to advance to the semifinals. Rosemary Chukwuma (11.32s) finished 2nd to African Record holder Marie Josée Ta Lou-Smith (11.14s) of Cote d'Ivoire in Heat 1 to also qualify for the next round.

African Games champion, Chidi Okezie (46.16s) and Dubem Amene (46.13s) won their respective 400m heats to qualify for the semifinals and will be joined by teammate Samuel Ogazi (46.56s) who came in 2nd in his heat.

Okezie seemed to be taking the second spot but produced terrific nerves to overtake Kenya’s Boniface Mweresa (46.32s) just before the finish line. The sole entrant in the women’s 400m, Esther Elo Joseph settled for 3rd place in her heat in 52.86s.

Tobi Amusan did not compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, having taken ill in Cameroon. Team Nigeria’s other entrant in the women's event, Adaobi Tabugbo placed 4th in her heat. 

Goodness Iredia and Emmanuel Njoku both qualified for the men’s Long Jump final. The newly crowned National Triple Jump Champion Iredia topped Group B in the qualifying rounds with his best effort of 7.70m while Njoku finished 2nd in Group A with 7.79m.

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