ATHLETICS

ITSEKIRI BEATS OGUNLEWE TO CLAIM 100M TITLE AT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Nigeria’s sprint sensation, Usheoritse Itsekiri continued his impeccable rise to the top of global sprinting, as the sprinter claimed his maiden 100m crown at the Nigerian Athletics Championships currently ongoing at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, dethroning Seye Ogunlewe in the process.

Ogunlewe, the defending champion and winner of the last three editions, bar 2018 (in which the championships didn’t hold), was looking to get the better of Itsekiri at the third time of asking this season, while also hoping to meet the qualification standard for the World Championships taking place in Doha in September.

Itsekiri got off to his usual flying start and was nip and tuck with Enoch Adegoke and Ogunlewe up until the 60m mark. However, the National Sport Festival Champion pulled clear of the chasing pack to return a time of 10.23s.

Adegoke, who ran the overall fastest time in the semis clocked 10.25s for 2nd, with Ogunlewe taking 3rd in 10.27s.

In the women’s 100m final, Africa Championships Bronze medalist, Joy Udo-Gabriel was a class apart from her colleagues, clinching her first National title in 11.58s. Grace Nwokeocha was 2nd in 11.70s, while Rosemary Chukwuma placed 3rd in 11.74s.

Emmanuel Ojeli pulled off a massive upset in the men’s 400m in a race that saw the defending National Festival Champion, Samson Nathaniel finishing out of the top three. Ojeli, running out of lane four, made her move around the top bend and came into the straight with a handsome lead, which he increased with each stride, winning in a 45.93s.

Orukpe Erayokan, the National Festival Champion, came through for second in a Season’s Best of 46.35s.

Finally, Patience Okon-George clocked an SB of 51.66s to win the women’s 400m crown for the fourth time in her career. Favour Ofili ran a new Personal Best of 51.90s for 2nd, while Amarachi Obi also ran a PB of 52.03s to finish 3rd.

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