Athletes from various parts of the country gathered at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode on Friday for the first senior athletics meet of the 2019 season – the AFN All Comers.
With the African U18 & U20 Championships in Abidjan fast approaching, a section of the athletes used the meet to ascertain their level of readiness for the continental Youth competition.
Meanwhile, athletes like Henry Okorie, Samson Nathaniel and Joy Abu seized the chance to get their season underway with impressive performances.
First on the events list was the 10,000m walk race. Lawal Seyi stopped the clock at 52:14.70 to claim the win in the men’s category while Asedo Queensly, who was the only female athlete to participate, crossed the finish line with a record of 65:01.27.
In the 5,000m, Okon Jetro Friday clocked 17:20.81 to finish 1st in the men’s final while Rotkang James Gomos won the women’s category with a time of 20:17.65.
The women’s 100m Heats was a walk in the park for Youth Olympics Champion Rosemary Chukwuma, who clocked the fastest time (11.97s) of all six heats. Balikis Yusuf, Okon Esther, Marvelous Asemota and Anita Taviore also clocked decent times to win their respective heats in the event.
In the final later in the day, Chukwuma reeled past the field in smart fashion to claim the win with a time of 11.87s. Meanwhile, Asemota came 2nd in 12.05s, followed closely by Esther who clocked 12.21s to finish 3rd.
National Sports Festival Champion Usheoritse Itsekiri made known the good form he was in when he ran the fastest time of all the men’s 100m heats – 10.56s. Enoch Adegoke, Emmanuel Arowolo and Alaba Akintola were notably among athletes who also qualified for the final as their respective heat winners.
However, injury forced Itsekiri to pull out of the final. With Arowolo also failing to start in the final of the event, newly-crowned National U-20 Champion Adegoke took his chance to keep his unbeaten run in the season.
The 19-year-old speedster clocked 10.62s to finish 1st ahead of Emmanuel Ojeli (10.78s) and Alaba Akintola (10.82s) who came 2nd and 3rd respectively in the final.
Joy Abu ran the fastest time (60.78s) of the two women’s 400m Hurdles heats while Sarah Kadiri clocked 61.48s to win the other heat.
Unsurprisingly, Henry Okorie was the dominant athlete in the men’s 400m Hurdles as he clocked 51.88s to win his heat.
Maria Onome was peerless in the women’s 800m, stopping the clock at 2:14.90 to win the only heat of the event.
In the men’s 800m, Hamid Sambo didn’t disappoint, clocking 1:54.80 to claim the win ahead of Goke Ogunseye and Sodiq Adebisi who finished in 2nd and 3rd place.
Efe Favour crossed the finish line in 14.95s to claim victory in the women’s 100m Hurdles ahead of Victoria Adunbi and Glory Nyenke who followed closely in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Yusuf Mohammed had to see off a tight contest from Wisdom Musa to win the men’s 110m Hurdles ahead of the latter with a time of 14.92s. Musa finished 2nd having clocked 15.05s.
In the women’s 400m, Funke Ogunbase ran the fastest time (54.79s) of all three heats. Blessing Ovwighonadjebere and Ifunanya Muoghalu also did well to win their respective heats in decent times.
Samson Nathaniel was the only athlete to run sub-47 seconds in the men’s 400m as he clocked 46.96s to win his heat. Meanwhile, Sikiru Alimi – winner of Heat 3 – ran the 2nd overall fastest time (47.15s) with Shedrack Akpeki (47.27s) also making the top three best times.
Afoke Oshasha was the star performer in the men’s Long Jump as he won the event with a leap of 7.43m. Victory George won the women’s category having leaped 5.87m.
In the Shot Put which was incidentally the final event of the day, Martins Chukwudi threw 12.40m to win the men’s category while Ogbukwo Eucharia won the women’s category with a heave of 14.20m.
Athletes’ performance at the All Comers meet will be used as a selection basis for the forthcoming African Games billed for Morocco in August.