Super Tuesday in Marrakech as Nigeria grabs 5 GOLDS to top medals table after Day 3 of African Champs!

13 Aug

Tuesday was a busy evening for Athletics at the African Championships in Marrakech, as Team Nigeria went from winning 1 GOLD on Monday night (Blessing Okagbare in the 100 metres), to winning a whooping FIVE in one evening! This takes Nigeria straight to the top of the medal standings after 3 days, and the nation looks well on course to come close to equalling the 10 GOLD medal haul from the last championships in Benin in 2012!

1. Nigeria 6 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze
2. South Africa 5 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze
3. Kenya 2 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze
4. Botswana 2 gold,
5. Ethiopia 1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze

Indeed, it was medals galore on Tuesday, as it wasn’t just the GOLD that Nigeria won on the night – Okoro and Okwelogu made it a 1-2 in the Discus, Brume and Amadi made it a 1-2 in the Long Jump, while Abugan and Okon George finished 1st & 3rd in the 400 metres! Winning two GOLD medals in the men and women’s 4x100m relays was then simply the icing on the cake for Team Nigeria as the country overtook rivals South Africa, to get to the top of the medals table.

Reigning 100m African champion, Blessing Okagbare anchored the women’s team, comprising of Gloria Asumnu, Dominique Duncan and Lawreta Ozoh to gold in 43.56s, ahead of Cote d’Ivoire (43.99s), who didn’t have their star athlete, Murielle Ahouré in action, and Ghana followed in third with 44.06s. This follows Nigeria’s Silver winning effort at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where the team finished behind Jamaica who won the event with 41.83s, while Nigeria posted 42.93s.

The men’s 4x100m team, which comprised of Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Monzavous Edward, Obinna Metu and Mark Jelks, won their first medal of the season as they coasted to gold in 38.80s, thereby bringing an end to South Africa’s domination in the event. The South Africans, who were favourites for the title pulled out, thereby paving the way for Nigeria to reclaim its lost glory in the event. The medal serves as a consolation no doubt, after their seventh place finish in Glasgow. 

Ghana placed second in 39.28s, with Algeria coming third with a National Record (NR) of 39.89s, which elicited wide jubilation from the North Africans. Nigeria holds the AR in the 4x100m (37.94s) while their South African counterparts are owners of the CR (38.75).

In the men’s 400m hurdles, defending champion, Amaechi Morton lost his crown to South Africa’s Cornel Fredericks who is also the new Commonwealth Champion. However, he was consoled by the silver medal (48.92s), having been assured of a place at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup, while fellow Nigerian Miles Ukaoma finished in sixth with 50.40s.

Noah Akwu, Nigeria’s last man standing in the 400m, placed seventh in the final that was won by African record holder, Isaac Makwala of Botswana with a CR of 44.23s. Akwu had posted a Season’s Best (SB) of 45.86s in the semis but was unable to replicate the same form in the final as he finished with 46.40s.

The heats of the men’s 110 hurdles was dominated by Nigeria as Alex Al-Ameen won Heat 1 in 13.89s while compatriots Tyron Akins and Martins Ogierakhi finished in the top two spots in Heat 2 with 13.77s and 13.87s respectively. Akins had the fastest time in the final rankings, with Ogierakhi and Al-Ameen following closely. Nigeria can pull off a 1-2-3 in today’s final, barring any injury concerns, but have to watch out for Algeria’s duo of Othman Hadj Lazib and Lyes Mokddel who complete the Africa Top 5 list.

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