Ifeanyi Emmanuel Ojeli emerged Nigeria’s top performer at the Kip Keino Athletics Classic held at the ‘new’ Nyanyo National stadium in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.
The Making of Champions athlete, Ojeli, came in second in 46.49 seconds in the 400m event behind Kenya’s Momanyi Jared Nyambweke (46.12).The performance, a personal season’s best pushed him to third in the Nigerian top list for 2020 behind Emmanuel Bamidele (45.77) and Erayokan Orukpe (46.22).Ojeli holds a personal best of 45.91 seconds achieved last year in Gaborone,Botswana.
In the men’s 200m, Jerry Jakpa came in fourth in 20.71 seconds, a personal season’s best behind Dambile Sinesipho of South Africa (20.44), Arthur Cisse of Cote D’Ivoire (20.53) and Denmark’s Kamanga-Dyrbak Tazana Mikkel (20.61).
Jakpa is now second on the Nigerian top list for 2020 and one of only two Nigerians behind national leader, Divine Oduduru (20.22) to have broken 21 seconds this Covid-19 ravaged season.
Reigning Nigeria 200m king, Usheoritse Itsekiri failed to live up to his impressive performance of last seaosn as he came in last (21.59) in the race.
In the women’s 200m race, Joy Udo-Gabriel’s bid to race inside 24 seconds for the first time in her young career did not come to fruition.The pretty, Making of Champions athlete ran 24.22 seconds to place fourth behind two Africans,Hemida Bassant of Egypt (23.13) who placed second and Njobvu Rhodah of Zambia (23.18) who finished third while Great Britain’s Awuah Kristal won the race (23.05).
Interestingly,it was Udo-Gabriel’s fifth fastest time ever over the distance, coming 14 months after she ran 24.08 seconds at the Nigerian Championships in Kaduna to set a personal best.
By Dare Esan