Archive | August, 2014

Tyron Akins, Nigerian and African 110m Hurdles Champion, ready to give his ALL for his new country!

16 Aug

Nigeria won an unprecedented 1-2-3 in the 100m Hurdles at the African Championships this week, and MAKING OF CHAMPIONS exclusively caught up with the three medallists, Tyron Akins, Alex Al-Ameen and Martins Ogieriakhi, trackside immediately after the race. 

(L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi after medals ceremony, where they got Silver, GOLD and Bronze respectively in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 African Championships

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi after medals ceremony, where they got Silver, GOLD and Bronze respectively in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 African Championships!

In recent weeks, we have spoken much about the controversy surrounding the Americans who recently switched to compete for Team Nigeria. Though Akins was initially reluctant to speak to us again following what we’ve written about them on these pages, he decided to use it as an opportunity to air his grievances on our coverage of their stories, and to let ALL Nigerians know what it means to him to have been given the opportunity to run for Nigeria! See the full interview transcript below:

Akins: When I read what you guys had written, I was so taken aback because when I did the interview with you it was all out of love. I was like mehn I’m happy; this is my first time of being here; like this is unbelievable and then I read the thing and it came off as so negative, like these guys are just coming in and there is controversy and all that. The Nigerian people have done nothing but openly welcome us, so it hurt me to read it, honestly.

MoC: We appreciate this and we’re glad you can talk about this and we respect that. There are a lot of people hurting in Nigeria as well because they feel like they are losing their opportunities to develop because you guys are coming in to take their spots, and they don’t seem to be getting even nearly the same support as you guys are. We appreciate that you’re still willing to speak up on this issue, because you will need your voice to be heard in Nigeria, otherwise you may have an uphill battle in winning over the masses…

Akins: Absolutely! I know that and I don’t have a problem with that because I’m dedicated to Nigeria – that is why I have this shirt on. There are people who are missing out on opportunities but the thing about athletics is this – what this does is that the people who are missing out on opportunities have to go back and re-evaluate and say hey, there is something I’ve got to change. This guy here (Martins Ogierakhi), when I came in he could have said we have Ty here and all that, but he stepped up to the occasion. This guy ran a PB (Personal Best) two weeks back to back. He beat me in Warri, you see what I’m saying? He stepped up to the occasion and its paying off. We are together on the podium now. I just want you to know that I love Nigeria.

Al-Ameen: I know that there is a lot of controversy and in my situation, people say they don’t know my background and stuff. The reason why I switched was not because I couldn’t make the team in England; it’s because I’m Nigerian, my father is Nigerian, and I would want to represent Nigeria. This year I ran a PB coming into these championships. It wasn’t so last year so I’m grateful to be running with these guys. We are the best in Nigeria at the moment; it’s a good day for Nigeria.

Akins: Like I said, even Martins (Ogieriakhi) has run his PB this year, because we’re all pushing each other. You see what I’m saying? We swept the hurdles in the African Champs. I’m giving my all to Nigeria. As a matter of fact, me and my coach are trying to do something where I can come to Lagos and Warri and talk to some of the kids about maybe coming to school in the US, so when you wrote the negative stuff it really hurt me because it was borderline disrespectful – I would never take advantage of a place or come to Nigeria because it is an easier way or something like that. Every time you step on the track it’s gonna be hard. Competition everywhere. Anybody could have won that race today so I never take track and field for granted. 

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi being awarded their Silver, GOLD and Bronze Medals respectively by AFN President, Solomon Ogba

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi being awarded their Silver, GOLD and Bronze Medals respectively by AFN President, Solomon Ogba

MoC: So let’s get to the race. Congratulations! It was a clean sweep for Nigeria in the 110m hurdles. Tyron you won that race with 13.57s. Talk us through the race, how did you feel?

Akins: Well I feel good because our goal when we were coming here was 1-2-3. We never said Tyron you win, and this guy second or any of that. It was strictly 1-2-3. We were going to push each other like we always do. I knew I had a pretty good start so those guys know I was going to get out of the blocks, so once I get out, you come with me and we gonna be good to go. I know that these guys are going to come towards the end. Martins is a strong competitor so he’s going to be there all through the race. Our goal was accomplished, it was 1-2-3. It could have gone either way; he could have won, we could have run 14s as long as Nigeria won the medals, that was what we were worried about but the focus was 1-2-3.

MoC: Do you feel like this makes up for just missing out on the finals at the Commonwealth games?

Akins: Missing out on the finals in the Commonwealth Games was because I didn’t have any races. My last before the Commonwealth Games was trials, so I went a whole month without races, so I wasn’t really sharp. It hurt me dearly because I want to really represent the country to the best of my ability and I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t in the finals, but this is a sort of redemption so I’m pleased with it.

MoC: Alex, let’s come to you very quickly, you were in the final at the Commonwealth Games, and 2nd here, which is your first silverware for Team Nigeria, a Silver medal in Africa. How does it feel?

Al-Ameen: Well it feels good and I would say it was great that we did a 1-2-3. I was coming here to win but I’m happy that my teammate got it. I did make the final at the Commonwealth Games and it was a great achievement of mine because I put it down as one of my goals for the year, and to get silverware as well. I didn’t do as well as I could have in the final today, but I am so happy that I can win a Silver medal for Nigeria and myself.

MoC: Martins I’m going to come to you very quickly. You were the National Sports Festival champion in 2012, and won the title twice before that as well?

Ogieriakhi: I have won it three times back to back: 2009, 2011 and 2012.

MoC: Wow! So is this your first medal for Nigeria at a global competition?

Ogieriakhi: Yeah, this is my first medal and I am very happy. I was going for the first position. Seeing Tyron by my side, I had to push forward and I had to tell myself ‘I won’t let him go, I won’t let him go!’ Both of them pushed me to place 3rd in this very race, so I am very happy.

MoC: Where do you go to from here now? More medals for Nigeria?

Ogieriakhi: Yeah! We said it yesterday that we were going to place first, second, third here, so hopefully we can do more.

MoC: Tyron, we’re going to end with you. We know that the Nigerian press including ourselves have given you guys a lot of heat since you switched to Nigeria. Can you tell us what this medal means to you?

Akins: It means so much because I expect to get the heat; you’re doing your job and I respect that but at the same time I just want to let you know that this is not just something that I take for granted. I’m very very serious about this. This is something that is very dear to my heart so. Like I said when I read what you had written I was so shocked because when I did the interview I didn’t get that vibe at all, but to get this medal and not only that, to get this 1-2-3 sweep for Nigeria is so overwhelming; it’s hard to put it in words. I think we were so close in the medal count and this medal just put us over, I’m not sure.

MoC: Thank you for still taking the time to talk to us. We appreciate it.

Akins: You’re just doing your job man. I just want you to know that I’m very serious about this.

Hurdles Clean Sweep

American Lindsay Lindley becomes Lindsay Weyinme – after getting Nigerian passport through uncle who ‘married in’!

15 Aug

Hey, would you like a passport in 24 hours to compete for Nigeria? Apparently we’re giving them out to anyone who’ll accept the offer…

The African Championships rounded up on Thursday night, and the big surprise for Nigeria fans during the week-long competition was the sudden appearance of new girl Lindsay Weyinme in Green-White-Green of Team Naija. We caught up with her after the 100m Hurdles final where she finished 4th, and this is what she had to say about how she was recruited to Team Nigeria (captured on camera by AthleticsAfrica):

Following the National Trials in Calabar, where we extensively covered the appearance of the newly recruited Americans to Team Nigeria, we asked the most pertinent question that arose – whether they should even have received Green Passport in the first place, given that Nigeria citizenship law clearly states that one must have at least ONE Nigerian parent to naturalise, if you were not born in Nigeria. Never in the history of Nigeria has any foreigner EVER received the passport because their great-grandparent or great-great grandparent was Nigerian, as some of them have claimed is their link to Nigeria.

All of this makes Weyinme’s claim as to how she got the Nigerian Passport even more startling. Is there any country in the whole world where you can become a citizen because your UNCLE MARRIED someone from that country? Not you, but your uncle? It’s such brazen disregard for Nigerian Law that one can only assume this young lady and her ‘Naijamerican’ colleagues have been rather misinformed and ill-advised in this whole situation.

Let’s not even get into the fact that she did not even attend the Nigerian Trials so her selection on the team is a big surprise, to say the least. This is the same situation with Robert Simmons, who also did not attend the trials, and has done little to justify his inclusion on the team, after not finishing his 400m race at the Commonwealth Games, and false starting earlier this week at these African Championships. The integrity of our whole selection process is at stake here.

It did not take long for more news on Wenyime’s background to emerge in online fan forums in Nigeria. It turns out that her real name is Lindsay Lindley, and it is likely that she was given the name Weyinme during the process of naturalising. Interestingly, the other Americans recruited to Team Nigeria have been given Delta middle names, such as Mark ‘Amuju’ Jelks, Monzavous ‘Jolomi’ Edwards, Tyron ‘Toritseju’ Akins, and so on.

They are all set to represent Delta State at the upcoming National Sports Festival, which just happens to be the first National Sports Festival that is open to foreign-based Nigerians, a classification which they now fall under. Which begs the question – is their recruitment really about making Team Nigeria better, or is it about Delta State winning the National Sports Festival? What becomes of them after the Festival? Only time will tell.

One thing is certain – it is very IMPORTANT that Nigerians do NOT direct any ill-feelings towards these athletes, who are merely embracing an opportunity that has been accorded them to advance their careers as Nigerians. What’s done is done, so they should be supported for whatever time they have left as Team Nigeria athletes (the majority of them are over 30), BUT as a people we need to make sure that we protect the integrity of the Nigerian passport, and what it means to represent this great nation – our immigration services has clearly dropped the ball here.

What’s next if we don’t close the loop on this? Someone will say their friend’s sister’s aunty-in-law is Nigerian and that’s how they got the passport? Essentially, almost anybody in the world can get a Nigerian passport in 24 hours to compete for us. You would think that this MIGHT be acceptable if we were talking about world-class, exceptional talents, but so far they have not improved Team Nigeria – at the Commonwealth Games only one of the recruits got a RELAY medal, while at these African Championships only one of them got an individual GOLD, which we still would have won anyway if they were not there, as we swept all the medals in that event. We even lost our Continental Crown to South Africa, winning only 8 gold medals this time around, as opposed to 10 in Porto Novo 2 years ago!

When all is said and done, this is not even about the recruits, and we want to re-iterate that we harbour no ill-feelings towards them, and we will celebrate whatever medals they can win for Team Nigeria at any level. What this is really about is how we see ourselves as a nation and a people. We need now to look deeply within, at our system, to make sure that born and bred Nigerians get the SAME opportunities, SAME privileges, and SAME funding as the American Recruits, because if that were to happen, Nigeria WILL surpass Jamaica & USA as the dominant force in World Athletics. It would only be a matter of time. Watch this space.

Nigeria’s GOLDEN GIRLS win 4x400m Title as curtain falls on 2014 African Champs!

14 Aug

Nigeria’s outstanding 4x400m women’s relay team capped a remarkable season with their fourth back-to-back title at the African Championships on the final day of competition in Marrakech, Morocco. The team comprising of Patience George Okon, Regina George, Ada Benjamin and Folashade Abugan consolidated on the team’s impressive performance this season by sprinting to their first GOLD medal of 2014 with a time of 3:28.87s, with Kenya and Botswana following in their wake in second and third with 3:32.26s and 3:40.28s respectively.

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The team won bronze at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in May, and then upgraded to silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow barely two weeks ago, before striking gold in Marrakech. It remains to be seen the colour of silverware they would claim when the IAAF Continental Cup gets underway in Marrakech a month from now!

Their male counterparts also won their first medal of the season as they took silver in 3:03.09 as they relinquished their crown to Botswana, who had the current record holder over 400m, Isaac Makwala as the anchor leg of the race. Botswana took the title with a National Record (NR) of 3:01.89s, while Kenya finished in third place with 3:07.35s. Noah Akwu, Robert Simmons, Miles Ukaoma and Amaechi Morton represented Nigeria in the race.

The first medal of the evening was won by Amaka Ogoegbunam in the women’s 400m hurdles, as she finished second in the 400m hurdles behind South Africa’s Wenda Theron Nel who clocked 55.32s to win gold. The Nigerian champion posted 55.46s while Kenya’s Francisca Koki finished third with a National Record of 55.84s.

Chinwe Okoro added another silver in the women’s shot put event where she recorded a distance of 16.40m, while Cameroun’s Sally Dongmo won with 16.84m. Nwanneka Okwelogu placed fourth with 15.14m. The duo won GOLD and Silver in the discus event the day before, with Okoro taking the title with a National Record (NR) of 59.79m.

Dominique Duncan was a surprise Bronze medallist in the women’s 200m as defending champion Gloria Asumnu relinquished her title to Cote D’Ivoire’s Murielle Ahouré who won the crown in 22.36s, while her team mate, Marie Ta Lou Gonezie placed second with 22.87s. Duncan returned a time of 22.98s while Asumnu and Regina George finished fifth and sixth respectively with 23.31s and 23.53s respectively.

In the men’s 200m, Nigeria’s only finalist, Divine Oduduru finished in sixth with a time of 20.81s, in the race that was won by Cote d’Ivoire’s Wilfried Koffi Hua who added the 200m title with an NR of 20.25s to the 100m crown he won two days earlier. Oduduru, who ran a wind-assisted 20.25s in Oregon last month to claim a World Junior Silver said after the race that Nigerians should expect more from him in the near future.

National Champion in the women’s triple jump, Blessing Ibukun Ibrahim, finished in third with a leap of 13.35m, behind Cameroun’s Joelle Mbumi who took gold in 14.02m, and Nadia Eke of Ghana (13.40m).

Overall Nigeria finished second on the medals table with eight gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals, while South Africa take over as the Continent’s Champions with ten gold, five silver and four bronze medals. Kenya (seven gold, eight silver, ten bronze medals), Botswana (four gold, one silver, one bronze) and Cote d’Ivoire (three gold, four silver, one bronze) completed the list of teams in the Top 5. It will be recalled that Nigeria emerged overall champions in the last edition of the Championship, which was held in Port Novo, Benin Republic two years ago.

Team Nigeria Guide to 2014 African Athletics Champs – DAY 5 (Thurs Aug 14)

14 Aug

Here’s the full schedule of ALL Team Nigeria Athletes competing on the FINAL DAY  (Thursday August 14th) at the African Athletics Championships, Marrakech 2014. Unfortunately this is not being shown in Nigeria, as SuperSports only have the rights to show the European Championships, which is happening simultaneously…

Never mind – Follow Making of Champions’ LIVE TWEETS,  POSTS and INSTAGRAM throughout the day as we bring you all the Action LIVE & DIRECT from the Grand Stade de Marrakech – stay tuned! 


Shot put Women
5.45pm: Final – Chinwe Okoro (NGR No.1, Africa No.2) and Nwanneka Okwelogu (NGR, Africa No.4)
Triple Jump Women
5.50pm: Final – Blessing Ibrahim (NGR No.1, Africa No.3)
400m Hurdles Women
6.10pm: Final – Amaka Ogoegbunam (NGR No.1, Africa No.4) vs Wenda Theron Nel (RSA, Africa No.1), Hayat Lambarki (MAR, Africa No.2) and Anneri Ebersohn (RSA, Africa No.3)
200m Women: NGR vs CIV!
6.25pm: Final – Gloria Asumnu (NGR No.2, Africa No.7), Dominique Duncan (NGR, Africa No.3) and Regina George (NGR)
vs Murielle Ahoure (CIV, Africa No.2) and Ta Lou Gonezie Marie J (CIV, Africa No.9)
200m Men
6.35pm: Final – Divine Oduduru (NGR No.1, Africa No.8) vs Isaac Makwala (BOT, Africa No.1), Titi Ncincihli (RSA, Africa No.4) and Wilfried Koffi Hua (CIV, Africa No.5)
4x400m Relay Women
8.45pm: Final – Nigeria (Africa No.1) vs Botswana (Africa No.5), Kenya (Africa No.6), Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia and Cameroon
4x400m Relay Men
9.25pm: Final – Nigeria (Africa No.1) vs Kenya (Africa No.2), Botswana (Africa No.3), Ghana, Morocco, Algeria and Ethiopia

Marrakech ’14 Day 4 RECAP: Tosin Oke settles for Silver in Triple Jump as Oduduru, Asumnu reach 200m finals!

13 Aug

Five-time national triple jump champion, Tosin Oke had to make do with Silver for the second time in as many weeks as he was beaten to gold by South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena on Wednesday at the African Athletics Championships in Marrakech.

Oke, the defending champion, had won the title back to back (in Kenya four years ago and the last edition in Port Novo in 2012), but could not out-leap Mokoena who won gold with 17.03m which he secured in his very first jump of the evening. Oke made a leap of 16.96m in his second attempt and improved on it by 1cm in his very last attempt, which is his Season’s Best (SB).

The duo met in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games less than a fortnight ago where the South African also stripped his Nigerian counterpart of his Commonwealth title with a distance of 17.20m, while Oke followed in second position in 16.84m. Thankfully though, he will still get to compete at the IAAF Continental Cup slated to hold between September 13 and 14 in Marrakech. His team mate and Nigeria’s No.2, Olu Olamigoke finished in sixth position with 16.18m. He narrowly missed out on a medal in Glasgow where he finished fourth with a distance of 16.56m.

Nigeria’s best prospect for a medal in the men’s 200m, Divine Oduduru qualified for the final of the men’s 200m, having finished second in the semi-finals and first in the heats ahead of Cote d’Ivoire’s Wilfried Koffi Hua. He has set up an explosive meeting with the Ivoirian who is the newly crowned African 100m Champion as well Africa’s No.1, Isaac Makwala who has returned 19.96s this season. Mark Jelks and Seye Ogunlewe also took part in the heats but pulled out of the semis for undisclosed reasons.

The trio of Gloria Asumnu, Dominique Duncan and Regina George all qualified for the women’s 200m final which promises to be a Nigeria versus Cote d’Ivoire final as double World Championships Silver Medallist and Africa’s No.2, Murielle Ahouré and Marie Ta Lou Gonezie will be aiming for the top two spots. Following the absence of Blessing Okagbare who pulled out of the 200m and would have been the major contender for gold, the focus will mostly be on houré who looks good for GOLD as she virtually jogged through the heats and semis. However her compatriot, Lou Gonezie looks in fine form to possibly deny Asumnu and the other Nigerians a medal spot, as she has the fastest time from the semis, 23.03s.

Amaka Ogoegbunam easily sailed through the heats in the 400m hurdles and has positioned herself for gold, wining her heat with 56.49s ahead of Morocco’s Hayat Lambarki who is a former African Champion. Her time was also the second fastest in the heats, though compatriot Kemi Francis wasn’t as lucky as she finished seventh in Heat 2 in 1:01.42. Abiye David placed third in her heat in 2:08.58, behind Kenya’s Eunice Sum and Ethiopia’s Lidiya Melese in the women’s 800m, which wasn’t good enough to see her through to the final.

Nigeria moved one place down on the medals table as South Africa regained the top position with eight gold, five silver and two bronze medals. Nigeria follows with seven gold, six silver and five bronze medals while Kenya is third with two gold gold, one silver and five bronze medals.

On Thursday which is the final day of competition, Nigeria will compete in the women’s shot put, women’s triple jump, women’s 400m hurdles, men and women’s 200m and men and women’s 4x400m relays.

Nigeria in African 110m Hurdles CLEAN SWEEP as Akins, Al-Ameen & Ogierakhi win GOLD, Silver & Bronze!

13 Aug

Nigeria’s 110m hurdlers made a clean sweep of the medals in the event on Wednesday night, leaving their Algerian, South African and Malian rivals trailing in their wake on Day Four of competition at the African Senior Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

National champion, Tyron Akins confirmed his status as the athlete to beat as he claimed his first African title in his debut outing at the championships, and only his second for Nigeria, with 13.57s. This follows his participation at the Commonwealth games where he just missed out on the Finals. He came to Marrakech as No.3 on the African list for 2014 but upstaged the rest of the field to clinch the title. The last time Nigeria won the 110m hurdles was in 1996 when national record holder in the event, William Erese mounted the podium in Yaounde, Cameroun!

Another new Nigerian athlete, Alex Al-Ameen, who was Nigeria’s No.2 from the National Trials, won silver in 13.78s. He came to the championship as the continent’s 2nd fastest athlete this year, behind Algeria’s Lyes Mokddel who competed in the heats but didn’t show up for the final. Al-Ameen competed in the Commonwealth Games and put up an impressive performance to get to the final of the event where he finished in seventh.

The only home-based athlete amongst them and Nigeria’s No.3, Martins Ogierakhi clocked 13.80s to secure the bronze medal. Ogierakhi holds the top position on the home front as he won all legs of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League and was one of the winners of the much anticipated N2million jackpot. He is also the winner of the last three editions for the National Sports Festival in Nigeria, which will be opened to foreign-based Nigerians for the very first time this year! He’ll have his hands full this time around with Akins and Al-Ameen in the mix!

Unfortunately, only Akins will fly Nigeria’s flag at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup, which incidentally holds in Marrakech, as only two athletes represent the continent in each event, and they cannot be from the same country!

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.

Chinwe Okoro wins African Discus Title in Championship Record, Okwelogu gets Silver!

13 Aug

Nigeria’s Chinwe Okoro put up an outstanding performance in the women’s discus throw to win GOLD and defend her African Title from 2012 with a Personal Best (PB) and Championship Record (CR) of 59.79m on Day Three of competition at the ongoing African Athletics Championships in Marrakech.

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It was 1-2 for Nigeria as Nwanneka Okwelogu followed in second with 51.66m while Morocco’s Amina Elmouden placed third with 48.21m. Okoro came to the championship with a Season’s Best (SB) of 57.83m while her former PB was pegged at 58.25m.

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Going into the competition, Okoro was second in the continental top list, just behind Cote d’Ivoire’s Kazai Suzanne Kragbe who had an SB of 59.61m. However her throw in Marrakech has eclipsed that of the Ivoirian and Okoro says she looks forward to setting more records in the near future.

 “It was my best performance and my next goal is to realize the best record in coming competitions.”

It’s time for Chinwe to break into the ‘Over-60’ club in the Discus, and we wish her the best of luck in achieving that!

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Team Nigeria Guide to 2014 African Athletics Champs – DAY 4 (Wed Aug 13)

13 Aug

Here’s the full schedule of ALL Team Nigeria Athletes competing in DAY FOUR  (Wednesday August 13th) at the African Athletics Championships, Marrakech 2014. Unfortunately this is not being shown in Nigeria, as SuperSports only have the rights to show the European Championships, which is happening simultaneously…

Never mind – Follow Making of Champions’ LIVE TWEETS,  POSTS and INSTAGRAM throughout the day as we bring you all the Action LIVE & DIRECT from the Grand Stade de Marrakech – stay tuned! 

Women’s 200m Heats

9.36am: Heat 2 –Gloria Asumnu (NGR, No.2, Africa No.7)

9.42am: Heat 3 – Regina George (NGR) vs Murielle Ahoure (CIV, Africa No.2)

9.48am: Heat 4 – Dominique Duncan (NGR No.3, Africa No.3)

Men’s 200m Heats

10.16am: Heat 2 – Divine Oduduru (NGR No.1, Africa No.8) vs Wilfried Koffi Hua (CIV, Africa No.5)

10.34am: Heat 5 – Mark Jelks (NGR) vs Emmanuel Dassor (GHA, Africa No.12)

10.40am: Heat 6 – Seye Ogunlewe (NGR)

Women’s 400m Hurdles Heats

6.00pm: Heat 1 – Amaka Ogoegbunam (NGR No.1, Africa No.4) vs Hayat Lambarki (MAR, Africa No.2) and Anneri Ebersohn (RSA, Africa No.3)

6.07pm: Heat 2 – Kemi Francis (NGR) vs Wenda Theron Nel (RSA, Africa No.1)

200m Men semis (TBD)

6.30pm – Semifinal 1

6.35pm – Semifinal 2

6.40pm – Semifinal 3

200m Women semis (TBD)

6.45pm – Semifinal 1

6.50pm – Semifinal 2

Men’s Triple Jump

6.55pm: Final – Tosin Oke (NGR No.1, Africa No.2) and Olu Olamigoke (NGR No.2, Africa No.3) vs Khotso Mokoena (RSA, Africa No.1) and Elijah Kimitei (KEN, Africa No.4)

Men’s 110 Hurdles

7.25pm: Final – Tyron Akins (NGR No.2, Africa No.3), Alex Al-Ameen (NGR No.1, Africa No.2) and Martins Ogierakhi (NGR No.3, Africa No.5) vs

Lyes Mokddel (ALG, Africa No.1) and Othman Hadj Lazib (ALG, Africa No.4)

Brume adds African Long Jump Title to Commonwealth Crown, Amadi takes Silver!

13 Aug

It was another 1-2 for Nigeria in the women’s long jump event as Ese Brume added the African crown to her list of titles with a jump of 6.50m, which was just 6cm shy of her golden jump at the Commowealth Games in Glasgow, while team mate and Nigeria’s No.2, Chinazom Amadi made a leap of 6.40m to finish in second position at the ongoing African Senior Athletics Championships in Marrakech. Earlier in the day, Nigeria recorded a top two finish in the women’s discus where Chinwe Okoro and Nwanneka Okwelogu dominated the event.

This latest addition is the fifth title the Delta State athlete has to her name at the moment, including the National Sports Festival crown (which brought her to limelight two years ago), the national title (which she won at the Nigerian Trials in June), African Juniors title (which she won in Mauritius last year), Commonwealth GOLD (in Glasgow earlier this month) and now the African GOLD Medallist! She is also the African junior record holder in the event!

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Chinazom Amadi also demonstrated extreme composure in pulling out a Season’s Best jump of 6.40m after initially going out to 6.17m, which would have seen her run out of the medals! She is a seasoned African Championships performer, having won Silver in Ethiopia in 2008 and Bronze in 2006 in Mauritius with jumps of 6.31m and 6.23m respectively! Her PB of 6.60m was set at the National Trials in Calabar in 2012.

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 Brume has demonstrated by this performance that her GOLD in Glasgow was no fluke, having emerged as the surprise winner in a field that comprised of more experienced jumpers including England’s Shara Proctor and a host of others. She has been consistent this season, save for the IAAF World Junior Championships where she finished at the bottom of her group in the qualifying round just a week before Glasgow. It is still difficult to pinpoint what went wrong in Oregon, although it was alleged that she arrived for the competition a day before her event, and perhaps was still exhausted by her sojourn.

Ese Brume has truly come of age – the jumping sensation has put that disappointment behind her, and has more than made up for the loss by commanding outstanding performances in subsequent events. The stage is now set for both Brume and Amadi to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best ahead of the IAAF Continental Cup slated to also hold in Marrakech next month!

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