Nigerian athlethes fail to spark at African championship

Nigeria’s dominance in sprint races in Africa looks to have been finally checkmated as the country’s athletes failed to win a gold medal in the 100 metres races for men and women, and the 100m hurdles event at the ongoing 18th Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic.

Blessing Okagbare, who set a championship record in the women’s 100m dash at last year’s edition to emerge tops, was dethroned by Rudy Zang Millama (Gabon) who emerged winner with a time of 11.16secs.

Okagbare finished second in time of 11.18sec; while her compatriot, Gloria Asunmu, finished third in 11.28 seconds.

It was even worse for the men as none finished within the top three. Simon Magakeve (South Africa) won the 100m event in 10.29secs while Amir Saoud (Egypt) and Wilfred Serge Koffi (Ivory Coast) finished second and third respectively.

Another defending champion in the 100 hurdles women’s event, Seun Adigun, was only a shadow of herself finishing in a disappointing 3rd position.

Also in the 400m men’s event only one athlete Biola Onakoya was able to make it to the finals of the event. Onakoya who is yet to make the A standard qualification time for the Olympics will have to be at his best not just to win a medal but to actualise his dream of making it to the Olympics.

Lagos State athletics coach, Kayode Afolabi, described the result being posted by the athletes as mind boggling especially as it comes on the heels of the Olympics.

“It’s not encouraging at all, it gives us faint hopes of winning anything in London” Mr. Afolabi said.

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