Okowa Post-Covid Meet: David Aya upstages Erhire in High Jump, double honours for Jakpa in Asaba

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After enduring a lengthy passive spell caused by the global coronavirus crisis, several Nigerian athletes from different parts of the country converged at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Friday for a special invitational tagged ‘Okowa Post Covid-19 Athletics Meet’.

The meet, thoughtfully organised by the Delta State government in conjunction with Athletics Federation, saw many budding athletes open their season even as some were able to rub shoulders with the few established stars that also competed. Indeed, it’s the first meet organised in the country since February when the 2020 season was halted due to the pandemic, but that expected rustiness was surprisingly not all glaring in the one-day invitational as some even got to bag Personal Best records in the course of their chosen event.

One of those who gave that spark was little-known David Aya, who upstaged reigning national champion Best Erhire to claim the win in the men’s High Jump. Aya soared to a lifetime best of 2.10m on his second attempt to beat undisputed favourite Erhire, who came 2nd with 2.05m.

Pius Nzube was another field athlete who improved his Personal Best on the the day, winning the men’s Triple Jump easily with leap of 15.79m.

Three-time African champion Ese Brume unsurprisingly outclassed her competitors in the women’s Long Jump as she leapt to a mark of 6.60m to claim the win ahead Hope Idhe, who came 2nd with 5.90m.

Samson Kure piped rival Nnamdi Chinecherem to win the men’s Javelin with a Season’s Best of 72.32m. The latter came 2nd after coming just a centimeter short with 72.31m.

Now to the track events.

Jerry Jakpa was really in his acts on Friday that he upstaged a number of favourites to win the 100m and yet went on to clinch the double with another victory in his favourite 200m event. One would have thought that there would be no catching Enoch Adegoke in the final after his brilliant win in 10.29s in the heats earlier in the day. But it wasn’t to be for the 20-year-old speedstar in the final as he settled for 2nd place (10.60s) behind Jakpa, who peeled away through the first lane for the win in 10.55s (-1.6).

Jerry Jakpa won the men’s 100m & 200m events at the Okowa Post-Covid Meet.
[Photo credit – Making of Champs]

Jakpa won the men’s 200m final with 21.09s beating his MoC teammate John Clifford, who settled for 2nd place with 21.67s.

Grace Nwokocha produced a strong finish to win the women’s 100m final with 11.64s, with Joy Udo-Gabriel coming in 2nd place with 11.77s. Favour Ofili won the women’s 200m final with 23.60s.

As you would have expected, Abejoye picked up from where he stopped at the AFN All Comers, Ozoro in February and claimed a dominant win in the men’s 110m Hurdles with 14.07s. Meanwhile, Kemi Francis won the women’s 100m Hurdles with 14.56s.

Daniel Atinaya did just enough to claim the win in the men’s 400m final, just ahead of Adewale Sikiru, who came 2nd. Atinaya won with a new Personal Best of 46.09s with Sikiru also improving his lifetime best to 46.17s to finish just behind.

Nse Uko Imaobong ran a quite dominant race on what was just her season opener in the women’s 400m.

The teenage sensation outclassed Glory Patrick (54.46s) and Blessing Ovwighodjabre (54.66s) to win the event with 53.16s.

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