Grace Anigbata clinches Triple Jump Gold on Athletics Day 1 of 12th African Games
Team Nigeria took to a strong start when the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium came to life in the early hours of Monday as the opening day of Athletics commenced at the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Grace Anigbata continued her Triple Jump dominance on the continent, adding an African Games title to her growing list of achievements. The Cloud County star soared to the 13.75m mark to clinch the win ahead home girl Jamaa Chnaik who leaped 13.69m to come 2nd in the final.
Dotun Ogundeji was another athlete who earned Nigeria a medal on the day, clinching Silver in the men’s Discus Throw on his very first outing in the country’s colours. The 23-year-old weight thrower came 2nd in the final having thrown a distance of 57.82m.
There were many positives in the short sprints for Team Nigeria as Usheoritse Itsekiri & Raymond Ekevwo made huge statements in the build-up to Tuesday’s final of the men’s 100m, which they have qualified for.
It started with Seye Ogunlewe setting the tone for his Nigerian colleagues with a brilliant win in Heat 3 of the event as he clocked 10.36s. Meanwhile, Itsekiri had to beat competition from Paul Amoah and Arthur Cisse to win Heat 4, clocking 10.27s. Ekevwo showed he’s in good form as he made the finish line well ahead of the rest of the field in his heat to take the win with the overall fastest time of 10.20s.
Ogunlewe could however not replicate his performance in the heats when he faced a stacked field in the first semi-final later in the day as he could only manage a 4th place finish with a time of 10.45s.
Itsekiri & Ekevwo however did well to extend their unbeaten run in their case. Itsekiri clocked 10.25 in the second semis while Ekevwo made it to the finish line in 10.26s in the third, as both advanced to the final as huge medal prospects.
Just as in the men’s category, Team Nigeria will have two athletes in Joy Udo-Gabriel and Aniekeme Alphonsus for the women’s 100m final.
After impressing in the third heat – clocking 11.53s to easily take the win, Blessing Okagbare unfortunately faced disqualification in her semi-final heat allowing Ivory Coast’s Marie Jose TaLou clinch the win.
Udo-Gabriel advanced to Tuesday’s final with an unbeaten record having clocked 11.46s & 11.47s to seal wins in her heat and semi-fnal respectively. Meanwhile, Alphonsus settled for 2nd place in her heat earlier in the day before her 11.82s clocking in the semis was just about enough to earn her a place in the final as one of the next two fastest times.
In the women’s 400m event, all three Nigerian representatives in Favour Ofili, Patience Okon-George and Amarachukwu Obi booked a spot in the semis scheduled for Tuesday. Ofili clocked the overall fastest time (52.20s) to win the first heat just as Okon-George (53.55s) and Obi (55.24s) managed top three finishes to advance to the next round.
Just right after that, Team Nigeria’s trio of Chidi Okezie, Emmanuel Ojeli, Orukpe Erayokan also advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s 400m after each secured a top three finish in their respective races. Okezie won his heat with a 46.65s clocking while Ojeli clocked 46.48s to settle for second in a faster heat. Erayokan came third in another heat with 46.94s.
In other events, Oyeniyi Abejoye finished 3rd in the first heat of the men’s 110m Hurdles with a time of 13.93s and that was just enough to earn him a place in the final. Edose Ibadin made it to the semis of the men’s 800m after clocking 1:50.46 to place 3rd in the first heat.