All hope isn’t lost as Osazuwa, Amadi, Uke Add Three More Gold to Team Nigeria in African Games

United States of America-based Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa waited till the last of the seven events of the heptathlon to upstage front runner, Benin Republic’s Ahouanwanou Odile, to win the gold medal for Team Nigeria yesterday.

The pharmacy graduate won yesterday’s 800m event of the heptathlon in a new personal best of 2:20.12. Osazuwa amassed a total of 5,892 points to leave the Beninoise to settle for the silver with 5,734. The bronze went to Marthe C, Yasmine Koala (5,664) of Burkina Faso.

Two other Nigerians in the event, Oluwakemi Ruth Francis (5,428 points) and Idhe Hope (5,060 points) finished fourth and sixth respectively.

 

The last time Nigeria won the multi-sport event was at Harare 1995 when Oluchi Elechi stormed to the gold to join the likes of Bella Bell-Gam (1978) and Rita Izojie (1991) as the only Nigerian ladies that have won the heptathlon gold.

Chinazom Amadi leapt a distance of 6.31m to win the women’s long jump. Reigning Commonwealth and African Championships number one, Ese Brume, continued in her slide into obscurity, leaping a poor 6.23m. It was nowhere near the 6.68m that gave her the Commonwealth Games crown in Glasgow, Scotland last year.

 

Amadi’s 6.31m mark is the poorest winning jump in the history of the Games since Modupe Oshikoya leapt 6.16m to win the second edition of the continental sports fiesta in 1973 at home in Lagos. The other Nigerian lady in the event, Blessing Ibrahim placed 10th with a poor 5.84m.

 

Claire Uke won Nigeria’s third gold medal of the track and field in the women’s discus event. She is the first Nigerian lady to win the gold medal in the event.

As it has become the lot of Nigerian male athletes, Victor Okorie failed to make it to the podium in the 400m hurdles, running 50.01 to place seventh.

 

Abdelmalik Lahoulou of Algeria who won the same semi final with Okorie earlier on Tuesday evening stormed to a new 48.67 national record to win the gold ahead of his compatriot, Miloud Rahmani (49.27) and Tunisia's Mohamed Sghaier (49.32) who won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Meanwhile, three Nigerians Obinna Metu, Divine Oduduru and Tega Odele yesterday qualified for the final of the 200m event scheduled for this evening.

 

Metu ran 20.55 seconds, one hundreth of a second off his personal best to win the first semi-final heat to qualify for his second 200m final in three appearances while Oduduru, the former junior international will however be running in his first final after setting two personal best to qualify.

 

He first improved his personal best to 20.56 seconds in the first round heat before cutting five hundreth of a second off it in the semi-final, clocking 20.51 seconds to win and zoom into the final.

Reigning Nigeria champion, Odele will also be running in his first open final at the Games after improving his personal best to 20.45 seconds in the first round.

 

The trio will be seeking to return Nigeria to the summit of the event 12 years after Uchenna Emedolu became the third Nigerian after Sunday Bada (1995) and Francis Obikwelu (1999) to win the title.

In the women's version, only the duo of Lauretta Ozoh and Ngozi Onwumere  made it to the final while the third girl, Regina George, who qualified for the semi-final failed to show up for the race.

 

Source: ThisDay Live