In spite of the ploy by the organisers and francophone nations to frustrate Team Nigeria, and deny them any possibility of winning the ongoing Africa Athletics Championship in Port-Novo, Benin Republic, the team has made an impressive start to their quest of emerging top ahead of the determined South Africa and defending champion, Kenya.
Nigeria’s queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare, who has lived up to her billing as the one of the fastest women on earth since her transition to sprinting three years ago and 100 and 200m champion, Obinna Metu beat their opponents in grand style respectively to qualify for the semi final of the women and men 100m event.
Also, the duo of US based Stanley Azie and Ogho Ogbene Egwero ran the time record of 10:54 and 10: 57 to book their place in the semi final of the men event, while Gloria Asumu made the women 100m semi final with the time record of 11:45.
In the 400m women event, Bukola Dammy and Regina George made it to the next round with an impressive time record of 52:11 and 51:42 respectively, while the trio of Segun Ogunlaye, Salihu Isah and Abiola Onakoya overcame their rivals easily with the time of 46:77, 46:58 and 46:06 respectively to move to the next round.
Nigeria also dominated the day one action of the competition in both men and women 100m hurdle with Jessica Ohanaja, Seun Adigun and Churuma Osazuwa putting up an impressive performances respectively to also qualify for the semi final of the event.
Meanwhile, Lawretta Ozoh was the only Nigerian star that saw red in the first day of the action as she was disqualified for the false start rule in the fifth 100m heat series while, compatriot, Endurance Abinuwa failed to reach the next round in the 400m heat finished in the distance time of 53:65 behind South Africa’s, Thipe.