Nigerian female sprinters shook off Thursday’s disappointment, recorded in the 100m event, and bounced back in spectacular fashion Friday evening to win the 4x100m event at the ongoing Africa Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic.
The quartet of Christy Udoh, Gloria Asunmu, Damola Osayomi and Lawretta Ozoh won the sprint relay in a time of 43.21secs to set a new Championship record.
The previous record of 43:35secs was incidentally set by Nigeria at the last edition of the Games in Nairobi, Kenya.
Gloria Obajimi a member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria board described the performance by the Nigerian ladies as breathtaking and good enough to earn the country a medal at the London Olympics.
“It was a good performance by the girls I hope they can keep it up” she said.
The men’s 4x100m team was however beaten to second place by South Africa (39.26s). The relay team made up of Peter Emelieze, Obinna Metu, Adetoyi Durotoye and Ogho-Oghene Egwero ran 39.34s while the Ghanian team placed third (39.40s). The team needs to run inside 38s to qualify for the games.
Meanwhile, Bejing Olympic bronze medalist, Blessing Okagbare put up a better performance in the women’s long jump and defended her title with an impressive jump of 6.96m which is the another new Championship record.
Janice Josephs of South Africa placed second with a distant 6.29m. Her country woman, Lynique Prinsloo finished third with 6.15m.
Nigeria also got a gold medal in the 400m men’s hurdle event as Amaechi Morton, who is making his debut at the African Championships won the race in 49.32s and was closely followed by Mamadou Hanne in 49.39s and Boniface Macheru (49.45s). Defending champion, Lj Van Zyl of South Africa could not continue the race as he tripped over a hurdle.
It was however not all cheers for Nigeria as the country’s flag bearers in the 400m men’s final event, Biola Ogunkoya and Salihu Isah finished 6th and 8th respectively.
South Africa tops the medal table with four gold, seven silver and five bronze medals. Kenya is second with four gold, six silver and three bronze medals while Nigeria is third with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals.