Itsekiri, Jakpa, Udo-Gabriel & Ojeli open season at Kip Keino Classic in Kenya

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The inaugural 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour’s train took a stop in Nairobi, Kenya as several world class athletes lit up the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday.

The one-day meet, tagged ‘Kip Keino Classic’, also saw few Nigerian athletes open their season with decent performances. The quartet of Usheoritse Itsekiri, Jerry Jakpa, Joy Udo-Gabriel and Emmanuel Ojeli were Nigeria’s representatives, competing in sprint events at the Kenya capital.

First in Nigeria’s green on the day was National 400m champion Emmanuel Ojeli. The quarter-miler did well to clinch a second place finish behind homeboy Jared Momanyi, who peeled away from the Nigerian in the last 100m to win it in 46.12s. Ojeli was holding on to a marginal lead after the first 200m but didn’t have the gas to beat off competition from Kenyan, settling for 2nd place with 46.49s.

Jerry Jakpa also had a decent season bow, racing to 4th place finish in the men’s 200m with a time of 20.71s. He came off the bend quickly but couldn’t maintain that top speed in the final 20 meters. South Africa’s Sinesipho Dambile claimed the win with a smart finish in 20.44s edging in-form Ivorian Arthur Cisse who came second in 20.53s while Denmark’s Tazan Kamanga Dyrbak finished 3rd with a PB of 20.61s.

Meanwhile, Jakpa’s compatriot in Usheoritse Itsekiri could only manage a eighth place finish in the race, clocking 21.59s.

Running from the lane 8, Joy Udo-Gabriel raced up to finish 4th in the women’s 200m with a time of 24.22s. Great Britain’s Kristal Awuah clocked 23.05s to finish first ahead of Egypt’s Hemida Bassant who placed second with a time of 23.13s. Zimbabwe’s Rodah Njobvu finished third having clocked 23.18s.

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