–At 12th African Junior Championships in Athletics
Divine Oduduru and Ese Brume raced into the final of the 100m event at the 12th African Junior Championships in Athletics which began yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Oduduru,a 200m silver medallist at the IAAF World Junior Championships last year in Oregon,USA ran 10.46 seconds to win the second semi-final and qualify for today’s final while his compatriot,Victor Peka did not make it,coming in fifth in the first semi-final.Oduduru will run from lane 6 in the final.
In the women’s version, Commonwealth Games long jump queen,Brume also made it to today’s final with a rather unimpressive 12.31 seconds performance.She came in second in the first semi-final won by South Africa’s Tamzyn Thomas (12.02).Brume’s Nigerian compatriot, Aniekeme Alphonsus however won the second semi-final (12.15) to also book a place in today’s final.Brume and Alphonsus have been drawn in lanes 3 and 4 respectively for today’s final.
Nigeria holds the men and women’s African junior records in the event.While Davidson Ezinwa’s 10.05 seconds run in Bauchi in 1990 remains the fastest by a junior in Africa since then,Joan Uduak Ekah also holds sway in the women’s version with her 11.11 seconds run in Laussane,Switzerland in 1999.Nigeria’s Mercy Nku also holds the championship record of 11.38 seconds set on her way to winning four gold medals at the second edition of the championships in Bouake,Cote D’Ivoire in 1995.
In the men’s long jump,Theddus Okpara picked Nigeria’s first medal at the championship,a silver after leaping 7.44m in his second attempt.The mark actually put him in the gold medal position until the penultimate (fifth) jump of the event when Morocco’s Mochine Khona leapt a centimetre more (7.45m) to claim the title.
It was a sorry tale by Kelechi Nwanaga in the women’s discus throw as she failed to make it to the podium,throwing a disappointing and pedestrian 29.29m to place last while South Africa’s Leandri Geel threw 46.76m to win the gold medal.
In the men’s 400m,the duo of Adekunle Rilwan Fasasi (47.02) and Adewale Adeyemi Sikiru (47.33) zoomed into the final by winning heats two and one respectively albeit they will find Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Hailu Bali (46.54) and Botswana’s Karabo Sibanda (46.74) real and visible obstacles to winning the title.
Emoghene Timothy ran 53.29 seconds to qualify for the men’s 400m hurdles final and has been drawn in lane seven.
Meanwhile South Africa leads the medals table with two gold medals after the first day of competition.Morocco and Ethiopia also notched up a gold medal each to come second and third respectively while Nigeria is fifth behind Egypt who has a silver and a bronze medal.