Despite the two-day tortuous road trip from their campsite in Ijebu Ode to Abidjan, Team Nigeria has started quite brightly at the ongoing African Under 20 and Under 18 Championships taking place in the Ivory Coast capital.
The country’s athletes won three medals, two gold and one bronze on the first day of the competition.
Having arrived barely 24 hours to the commencement of the championships, the Nigerian athletes were quick to shake off the fatigue they had from the journey to put up a good performance in the events they competed in on Day 1.
Best Erhire won gold for Nigeria in the men’s High Jump event in the under 18 category.
Erhire put in his best performance ever as he cleared a new height 2.08m (Personal Best, PB) to emerge as the new African champion in his cadre.
Joshua Onezime from Seychelles with 2.06m and Zyad Fabraka 2.04m were 2nd and 3rd respectively in the High Jump event.
Before the new feat in Abidjan, Erhire’s PB was 2.05m and it was only good enough for him to win bronze at the National Sports Festival in Abuja.
Meanwhile, in the women’s Triple Jump event, Nigeria got two medals in the two categories. Onaara Obamuwagum jumped a new PB of 12.78m to win the U20 category.
In the U18, Grace Oshiokpu got the bronze medal, after finishing with a mark of 11.87m.
South Africa’s Mashaba Moliwazi won the gold with her leap of 12.65 and Sambate Robe from Ethiopia picked silver with her own leap of 12.05m
More medals are expected in Day 2 of the competition as a good number of Nigerian athletes have made progress in their respective events.
Favour Ofili, who is the only Nigerian participating in the Girls’ 400m (Youth category), is through to the next round haven easily won her heat with a Season’s Best (SB) of 53.75s.
In the Boys’ category, Victor Akhalu comfortably won to progress to the semis, winning with a time of 47.96s.
In the 100m, Enoch Adegoke and Rosemary Chukwuma are both through to Wednesday’s semifinals easily winning their heat races.
Adegoke’s time of 10.46s was good enough for him to win his 100m heat, while Chukwuma finished ahead of all the others in her heat race with a winning time of 11.66s.
In the Girls’ 100m (U-18), both Praise Ofoku and Anita Taviore eased to victories in their races to book places in the semis.