By Dare Esan:
Nigeria-born Bahrainian Salwa Eid Naser known by the names Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigerian athletics circuit became the fastest Nigerian nay African woman by blood over the 400m following her incredible 49.08 seconds run at the IAAF Diamond League meeting Monaco on Friday.
Nasser came second behind Bahama’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo (48.97 seconds) at the meeting but her time is the fastest an African woman has run over the full lap race, supplanting the 49.10 seconds Falilat Ogunkoya ran to win a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.
Although Naser’s incredible run will not count as Nigeria and African record following her switch of allegiance to Bahrain, she has however set a new Asian record and has moved into the all-time ranking as the 12th fastest woman,dropping Ogunkoya to 13th.
Naser’s feat has been applauded by Chief Tony Osheku, arguably Nigeria’s most successful athletics coach in the last three decades.
“Naser has shown the depth of talent we have in Nigeria if only we can harness them. Nigerian athletics needs all the attention it can get from both government and corporate Nigeria,” said Osheku who coached Ogunkoya to become the first Nigerian to win an individual Olympic medal as well as set a still standing African record.