REGINA GEORGE beaten by her home-based teammates, as OKAGBARE completes sprint double on Final Day of Nigerian Trials

22 Jun

The final day of the Nigerian Athletics Championships on Saturday produced a major shock, as Nigeria’s 2-time defending 400m Champion, Regina George, not only lost her 400m crown at the U.J. Esuene stadium in Calabar, but was beaten into 4th place by all three of her teammates with whom she won the World Relay Bronze medal in the 4x400m in the Bahamas last month. Folashade Abugan claimed the GOLD in 51.39s, with Omolara Omotosho taking Silver in 51.56s, and Patience Okon George took the Bronze in 51.62s – Regina George could only manage 51.67s, losing out in the photo finish for third!

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas. She is Nigeria's new 400m Champion, winning at the 2014 Nigerian Trials in 51.39s!

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas, where she won Bronze in the 4×400 metres. She is Nigeria’s new 400m Champion, winning at the 2014 Nigerian Trials in 51.39s!

The result was especially surprising because of Regina George’s fine form in the Relay team this year – she ran 50.5s and 49.4s splits for Team Nigeria at the Penn Relays and World Relays respectively. She also won her semi-final in Calabar with a time of 51.30s, the fastest time in the whole meet which would have been good enough to win in the final! For the last two years George has been Nigeria’s undisputed number one quarter-miler, so it is indeed a puzzle that she did not perform well enough to win a third consecutive Nigerian title in Calabar. It will be interesting to see how she bounces back from this setback, and if she can continue her recent dominance of the one lap race in Nigeria!

The significance of George’s defeat will not be lost on Nigeria-based fans and athletes alike, many of whom are still reeling from the surprise appearance and subsequent dominance of recently converted American athletes at these Nigerian Trials. American-based athletes have long been considered better than their home-based counterparts, and while in the past the athletes who switched allegiance from USA had obvious Nigerian heritage through at least one parent (such as Regina George & Gloria Asumnu), the recently recruited athletes would appear to have questionable family links to Nigeria at best, fabricated at worst.

The arrival of the new American-Nigerian athletes will undoubtedly further curtail the opportunities for home-based athletes to develop and eventually represent Nigeria. George’s surprise loss will give hope to athletes all over Nigeria that they also can go toe-to-toe with their US-based counterparts. Abugan, Omotosho and Okon George will inspire their fellow home-based athletes to rise to the new challenge posed by the newly converted athletes. This will certainly re-ignite the home-based versus foreign-based rivalry in Nigerian Athletics in a way that we have never seen before!

In other news from Day 3 of the Nigerian Trials, Blessing Okagbare completed the sprint double as expected, winning the 200m in a time of 22.62s, almost a full second ahead of Gloria Asumnu in 23.54s, and Dominique Duncan, another recently converted American on her first trip to Nigeria, in 3rd place with 23.91s. Home-based Divine Oduduru won the men’s 200m easily in 20.87s, with Odele Tega in 2nd with 21.33s, and another US convert, Monzavous Edwards, finishing a disappointing 3rd in 21.38s. US-based hurdlers Cristian Morton and Amaka Ogoegbunam claimed the men’s and women’s 400m hurdles crowns respectively, while Isah Salihu claimed the men’s 400m crown in 46.15s, ahead of last year’s Champion Noah Akwu in 46.34s and Omeza Akerele in 46.56s.

The Nigerian Championships this year are the Trials for the Commonwealth Games starting in Scotland next month, and the African Championships in Morocco in August. At this time it is unclear whether the athletes chosen for each event will be the first 3 from the Trials or the athletes with the best times throughout the season, so we wait with anticipation to see what the final Commonwealth and African Championship squads will be. If the selection criteria is indeed the Top 3 in each event from the Trials, then we could see Regina George missing out in the individual 400 metres, something that would have been unfathomable just a couple of days ago!

 

2 Responses to “REGINA GEORGE beaten by her home-based teammates, as OKAGBARE completes sprint double on Final Day of Nigerian Trials”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Regina George & Tosin Oke return to the Diamond League, as Okagbare goes for 200m record | Making of Champions - July 10, 2014

    […] George, as she finished outside the podium during the national trials held in Calabar last month. Her fellow World Relay Bronze medallists finished ahead of her – Folashade Abugan won the title in 51.39s, with Omolara Omotosho and Patience Okon George […]

  2. Blessing Okagbare opts out of Long Jump to chase 200m GLORY @ C’wealth Games! | Making of Champions - July 30, 2014

    […] 22.82s in April, and if she can replicate that she could also be in amongst the medals. That said, she only ran 23.91s in placing 3rd at the Nigerian Trials in June, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form she is coming into the Games […]

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