Final Day of Athletics is Silver Lining for Nigeria, with 4×1, 4×4 & Triple Jump medals!

3 Aug

Brilliant displays by Team Nigeria’s 4x100m and 4x400m female teams, and Tosin Oke in the men’s Triple Jump ensured that three silver medals were added to the three gold medals already won by Blessing Okagbare (100/200m) and Ese Brume (Long Jump), to draw the curtain on an eventful outing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

The women’s 4x400m team, rated second in the Commonwealth just behind Jamaica, ensured that they raced the Caribbeans right to the finish line in a time of 3:24.71s, while the Jamaicans raced to the title in a new Games Record of 3:23.82. England was third with 3:27.24. Nigeria’s quartet was made up of Patience Okon George, Regina George, Ada Benjamin and national champion, Folashade Abugan who ran the anchor leg. Funke Oladoye and Omolara Omotosho also pick up Silver medals, having helped the team to reach the final as part of the quartet who had come through the heats the day before in 3:28.28!

Folashade Abugan, 400m Nigerian Champion, after receiving the baton from Ada Benjamin  for the last leg of the women's 4x400m at Hampden Park in Glasgow at the 2014 C'wealth Games.  Jamaica won the GOLD, with Nigeria getting the Silver and England the Bronze!  (Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Scott Heppell)

Folashade Abugan, 400m Nigerian Champion, after receiving the baton from Ada Benjamin
for the last leg of the women’s 4x400m at Hampden Park in Glasgow at the 2014 C’wealth Games.
Jamaica won the GOLD, with Nigeria getting the Silver and England the Bronze!
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Scott Heppell)

Their feat no doubt inspired their the women’s 4x100m team, as Gloria Asumnu, Blessing Okagbare, Dominique Duncan and Lawreta Ozoh also stormed to a silver medal behind the Jamaicans once more. This was a great result for the team, considering the fact that they were rated fourth in the Commonwealth prior to the games. The fantastic four posted 42.92s while Jamaica won with another Games Record of 41.83s, with England finished in third in 43.10s. Okagbare became the most decorated athlete of the Games with 2 GOLDs and 1 Silver, and now both relay teams look in very good shape to use these results as a spring board to get more medals at the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Olympics!

It was a different tale however in the men’s event as England (3.00.46), Bahamas (3.00.51) and Trinidad and Tobago (3.01.51) finished in the top three in the 4x400m, with the Nigerian team comprising of Isah Salihu, Miles Ukoama, Noah Akwu and Cristian Morton finishing a seventh in 3:04.86. In the 4x100m, Divine Oduduru, Monzavous Edwards, Obinna Metu and Mark Jelks finished sixth with a time of 40.17secs after the first baton change put paid to the team’s chances of contesting for a medal. Unsurprisingly, the GOLD was won by Usain Bolt’s Jamaica with yet another Games Record of 37.58s, with England and Trinidad & Tobago finished 2nd and 3rd with 38.02s and 38.10s respectively.

Meanwhile Nigeria’s Triple Jump Champion, Tosin Oke was denied from successfully defending his Commonwealth Triple Jump title. The five-time national  champion had to settle for silver despite jumping a Season’s Best (SB) of 16.84m, as he was out-leaped by fierce rival, South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena who dominated on the evening with his jump of 17.20m. The South African will also be bidding to wrestle Tosin Oke’s African Title away from him when the African Athletics Championships get underway in Morocco in just a week’s time! Oke may well need to jump close to his PB of 17.23m to defend his African Title. Nigeria’s No. 2, Olu Olamigoke was a very commendable 4th with 16.56m while England’s Former World Champion, Phillips Idowu finished 5th in 16.45m.

As the Commonwealth Games draws to a close, Team Nigeria’s performance in Athletics here in Glasgow has certainly been a silver lining, and a huge sign of HOPE for the future – that the Team Nigeria is rising again, after suffering a London 2012 Olympics without a single medal! Okagbare could be a Triple GOLD medal contender at Rio 2016 and Ese Brume is an exciting new talent to watch out for, especially if she follows Blessing’s footsteps and is converted to the sprints! Our women’s 4x400m team look especially strong, with SIX girls who can run 52 seconds (FIVE of whom are home-based) – along with the 4x100m they will be medal contenders in Rio 2016!

Now it’s time for our men to stand up and be counted come 2016 – Tosin Oke’s Silver in the Triple Jump and Richard Okigbazi’s Bronze in the F42/44 Discuss Throw (for athletes with lower limb amputations) were the ONLY Track & Field medals for Team Nigeria’s men. Something URGENTLY needs to be done to revive Men’s Athletics in Nigeria, as it seems that the current strategy of recruiting Americans to Team Nigeria has so far not produced much improvement on what we have at home, where the potential to produce world-beaters and MAKE CHAMPIONS is endless! It’s time for our men to step it up, else we may be depending solely on Blessing and the other girls for medals at next year’s World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 Olympics in Rio!

The Labours of our Para-Athletes must not be forgotten. Richard Okigbazi won BRONZE by throwing 39.38 metres in the F42/44 Discuss - THROWING ON JUST ONE LEG!

The Labours of our Para-Athletes must not be forgotten. Richard Okigbazi won BRONZE by throwing 39.38 metres in the F42/44 Discuss – THROWING ON JUST ONE LEG!

 

One Response to “Final Day of Athletics is Silver Lining for Nigeria, with 4×1, 4×4 & Triple Jump medals!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Abugan, Nigeria’s 400m Champion, to face teammates for African Title! | Making of Champions - August 8, 2014

    […] performance to dethrone two-time winner, Regina George, at the National Trials in June and then anchored the 4x400m team to a Commonwealth Silver medal in Glasgow just last week. She was the only one of Nigeria’s ‘Fantastic Four’ to reach the individual […]

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