African Champion ABUGAN seeks perfect finish to 2014 season in 400m @ Continental Cup!

9 Sep

The 2014 season has been an outstanding one for Folashade Abugan, and she would be aiming to end the season on a high by adding a medal to her individual collection at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech this weekend.

Her first medal for the season was a bronze with the 4x400m team at the IAAF World Relays; then came individual GOLD in the Nigerian Trials in Calabar where she denied teammate Regina George a hattrick of titles. She won a silver medal in the relays at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and then claimed GOLD in the individual 400m at last month’s African Championships in Marrakech, before anchoring the Nigerian team to a fourth consecutive African 4x400m title. 

A Nigerian domination had already been in the works as Defending Champion and favourite, Amantle Montsho, was ruled out of the competition after failing a dope test in Glasgow, and Abugan took the opportunity with both hands as she dominated from her very first race of the championship, taking victory in her heat in 52.09s. Team mate Patience Okon-George won Heat 2 in 51.55s while Ada Benjamin also impressed in Heat 3 with a lifetime best of 51.55s.

And though Nigerian fans had anticipated a 1-2-3 in the final, Zambia’s Kabange Mupopo put paid to such dreams as she raced Abugan all the way to the finish line, with both athletes posting 51.21s. Abugan took the day via photo finish, while Okon George was third with 51.68s and Benjamin fourth in 52.59s. Interestingly, Mupopo is also the national women’s football team captain for Zambia!

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Speaking after the race, an excited Abugan said, “I am very happy because four years ago I was third but this time around I came first. Being African Champion is no mean feat. The Continental Cup is going to be a tough one because the world’s best athletes would be there, but I know that I will certainly do better there.”

True to her words, she would be meeting world leader, Francena McCorory (SB 49.48s), as well as Commonwealth Games silver medallist & 2014 Diamond Race winner, Novlene Williams-Mills (50.05s), who is 4th fastest in the world this year. The pair is competing for the Americas while the European team features No. 10 in the rankings, Libania Grenot (50.55s) of Italy and Ukraine’s Olha Zemlyak (51.07s) who is No. 20 this year.

Abugan and Mupopo who are joint 21st in the world this year with 51.21s and are ranked higher than the Asain-Pacific duo of Anneliese Rubie (No. 93) and Louise Jones (unranked) that they will also face on Saturday. Even though McCorory has the world leading time this year, she may not be in great form as she finished a distant seventh in the final Diamond League meeting in Brussels last week, meaning that Williams-Mills will likely be the favourite to take the victory for Team Americas. 

Nevertheless, both Abugan and Mupopo will be looking to improve their SBs and go under 51 seconds to get into the mix for medals for Team Africa!

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Folashade Abugan will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 400m on Saturday Sept 13th at 8.10pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm – DON’T MISS IT!

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