Nigeria’s Asumnu and Duncan lead Africa’s chase for 4x100m honours @ Continental Cup

13 Sep

Team Nigeria dominated the women’s 4x100m at the African Championships in Marrakech last month after Blessing Okagbare led the team to a fourth consecutive title in 43.56s, ahead of Cote d’Ivoire (43.99s) and Ghana (44.06s).

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However it is a mixed grill that will make an appearance at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup, comprising of two Nigerians, an Ivoirian and a South African. Nigeria’s Gloria Asumnu (No.36 with 11.15s) and Dominique Duncan would be in action for Team Africa in what has been an eventful season. The pair picked silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with the 4x100m team, and then struck gold in Marrakech last month. They will be joined by African Championship Silver Medallist in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie (No. 43 with 11.20s) of Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa’s Justine Palframan.

Unfortunately, the absence of the continent’s top two athletes, Blessing Okagbare (No. 2 with 10.85s) and Murielle Ahouré (No. 6 with 10.97s) at the Continental Cup will be sorely felt by friends and foes alike, as their presence would have raised the bar in terms of the level of competition, and bridged the gap between the hosts and their opponents.  

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The star-studded Americas team will be led by world No. 2 (held jointly with Okagbare), Michelle Lee-Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (10.85s) and has Diamond League trophy winner and Commonwealth silver medallist, Veronica Campbell-Brown (No. 4 with 10.86s), Tianna Bartoletta (No. 5 with 10.92s), Samantha Henry-Robinson (No. 7 with 11.00s) and Joanna Atkins (No. 11 with 11.02s) in tow. They would no doubt be the side to watch out for at the event.

Just like their male counterparts, European champions Great Britain will be representing their continent in the relay. The team is No. 3 on the IAAF 2014 Rankings, just behind Jamaica and the USA with a time of 42.21s. They won the 4x100m race at the European Championship in Zurich with a National Record (NR) of 42.25s, which eclipses the time of 42.43s set at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Competing for Team Europe are Desiree Henry (No. 50 with 11.21s), Ashleigh Nelson (No. 41 with 11.19s), Anyika Onuora and Asha Philip (No. 40 with 11.18s) No.3 with 42.21s

Asian champions Japan occupy the 33rd  spot on the world rankings with 43.74s and Yuki Jimbo, Yuki Miyazawa, Mizuki Nakamura, Maho Takamori and Tomoka Tsuchihashi make up the Asian-Pacific team.

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Gloria Asumnu (NGR), Dominique Duncan (NGR), Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie (CIV) and Justine Palframan (RSA) will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 4x100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 9.40pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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(Regina George stood in for Blessing Okagbare at the 4x100m award ceremony, as Blessing had already left Marrakech on the day of the ceremony!)

Team Nigeria to spearhead Africa’s 4x100m medal hopes @ Continental Cup

12 Sep

Nigeria’s GOLD winning team in the men’s 4x100m relay at the 2014 African Senior Championships in Marrakech are the sole bearers of Team Africa’s hopes in the event at the IAAF Continental Cup holding in Morocco this weekend.

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This season has been a long one for the team which participated first at the IAAF World Relays in May without a medal, and then the Commonwealth Games where they ran alongside world leaders, Jamaica in the heats and final. National 100m champion, Mark Jelks anchored the team to second position in the heats, just behind Jamaica which had the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt in action. They eventually finished a sixth in a final which was won by the Jamaicans in a scorching 37.58s.

It was an entirely different story at the African Championships as the Nigerian quartet comprising of Ogho-Oghene Egwero (No. 90 in the world this season with 10.18s), Monzavous Edwards (No. 78), Obinna Metu (No. 173 with 10.28s) and Jelks (No. 35) who was the anchor once again, dominated the event by clocking a Season’s Best (SB) of 38.80s ahead of Ghana (39.28s) and the Algerian team which sprinted to a National Record (NR) of 39.89s.

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Jelks and Edwards finished second and third respectively in the men’s 100m with SBs of 10.07s and 10.16s respectively, while the title was won by Cote d’Ivoire’s Hua Wilfried Koffi with an NR and Personal Best (PB) of 10.05s. However the 4x100m team would be without the services of Koffi who will focus on the sprint double at the forthcoming event. The Nigerian team is 34th on the 2014 IAAF 4x100m Relay rankings.

The Americas team comes with an intimidating CV, having the likes of Richard Thompson (No. 2 with 9.82s), Michael Rodgers (No. 4 with 9.91s), Jamaica’s Nesta Carter (No. 8 with 9.96s) and veteran Kim Collins (No. 8 with 9.96s). All four athletes have done a sub-10 this season and are certainly the team to beat – it will be interesting to see how they do with their baton exchanges, given that the quadrennial continental cup is the only major competition that could see these sprinters of different nations competing on the same team!

European champions, Team GB, will represent the continent in Marrakech. They won the continental crown in a very strong 37.93s. It comprises of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (No. 40 with 10.08s), James Ellington (No. 59 with 12.13s), Richard Kilty (No. 51 with 10.12s) and Danny Talbot (No. 87 in 10.17s) – they will be expected to put up a good fight for the podium as the team ranks second on the 2014 IAAF rankings behind Jamaica.

Asian champions and world No. 10 relay team Japan, with an SB of 38.34s, will be representing Team Asian-Pacific and is made up of Masaharu Mori, Masafumi Naoki, Yu Onabuta, Kazuma Oseto (No. 141 with 10.25s) and Kotaro Taniguchi. Amongst the four teams, it would seem that Team Africa are the underdogs, give them times each team has run this season, so it will be interesting to see if they can cause an upset!

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Team Nigeria will be representing Africa in the men’s 4x100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 9.55pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Stephen Mozia goes against big names in the discus @ Continental Cup

12 Sep

Stephen Mozia is Nigerian champion in the both the shot put and discus throws. However, he will be representing Team Africa at the IAAF Continental Cup this weekend in the discus throw only, alongside African champion, Victor Hogan of South Africa.

Mozia formally began competing for Nigeria at the World Indoors in Sopot this year, though he missed out on qualification for the final of the men’s shot put event. However, he had set a National Record (indoor) of 20.79m at the Ivy League Championships prior to the world indoors.

The Cornell University senior went on to set an NR of 20.38m at the NCAA East Preliminaries in May, and then won the shot put at his debut outing during the National Trials in Calabar with a distance of 18.14m, followed by Augustine Nwoye who had a throw of 17.25m. He also dominated the discus event with 53.69m while Nwoye followed again with 53.28m.

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He competed at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he finished 7th with a throw of 17.76m in the qualification round, ruling him out of the final. He placed fourth in the Men’s shot put final at the African Championships in Marrakech with 17.65m, while Nwoye finished in seventh with 16.90m. South Africa’s Orazio Cremona won with 19.84m.

However he made up for this with a bronze medal in the discus with 57.11m, though his Season’s Best (SB) of 62.80m would have seen him claim silver as eventual winner, Hogan took the title with  a distance of 62.87m, while team mate Russell Tucker with 62.15m. Mozia makes the selection into the African team since the top two in the event were from the same country and cannot both represent the continent.

Mozia ranks 53rd in the world this year, with Hogan being twenty spots ahead (No.33) with an SB of 64.16m. The pair would be contending against World No. 7 and 24 respectively inTeam Americas’ Jorge Fernandez (66.50m) and Jason Morgan (64.72m). Gerd Kanter of Estonia (No. 10) would be spearheading the European attack and he comes with an SB of 66.02m. His teammate is Poland’s Robert Urbanek whose effort of 65.75m puts him at No. 17 on the rankings.

Former Commonwealth champion and silver medallist at the last Continental Cup, Benn Harradine (No. 13) will be hoping to upgrade to a gold medal this time around and comes with a best performance of 65.94m. He is joined by Sultan Mubarak Al-Dawoodi (No. 132) in the Asian-Pacific team. 

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Stephen Mozia will be representing Team Africa in the men’s discus throw on Sunday Sept 14th from 6.50pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Dominique Duncan goes head-to-head with Schippers, Soumaré in 200m @ Continental Cup!

12 Sep

Team Nigeria’s Dominique Duncan is set to take her place amongst some of the world’s best athletes in the women’s 200m as the IAAF Continental Cup takes off in Morocco this weekend.

Duncan first donned the green and white colours this year, having switched allegiance from the USA, and she placed third at the National Trials with a time of 23.91s, behind Blessing Okagbare (22.62s) and Gloria Asumnu (23.54s).

Her first outing for Nigeria was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she competed in the 200m and 4x100m relay. She missed out on an appearance in the final of the 200m but took silver in the relay with the team, which finished behind Jamaica in the final with a time of 42.92s.

She was at the African Championships in Marrakech a week later, where she claimed her first continental title in the relays, then comfortably led her heat in the 200m. She finished second behind Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie J Ta Lou in the semis, clocking 23.44s, and qualified for the final alongside team mates, defending champion, Gloria Asumnu and Regina George.

The race was a battle for superiority between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire’s duo of Ta Lou and double silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships, Murielle Ahouré. However it turned out to be 1-2 for the Ivoirians, with Ahouré taking the win in 22.36s, while Duncan was the surprise medallist from the Nigerian camp, winning bronze in 22.98s. Asumnu and George placed fifth and sixth respectively.

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She said, “This medal is a victory for the team. Some may have thought that I didn’t stand a chance against Ahouré, but you always have to believe. You speak into existence and it happens. I was trying to get up here to get a medal that I can take home and I’m pretty pleased with it. The Continental Cup means more training; it’s just a mental thing and you need to be prepared for it.”

She is ranked No. 31 in the world with a Season’s Best (SB) of 22.82s, while teammate, Ta Lou, incidentally, is five places lower with 22.87s. 

World No. 2 and European double sprint champion, Dafne Schippers (22.03s) of the Netherlands is the standout athlete to watch out for, along with Myriam Soumaré (No. 3) who posted a scorching Personal Best (PB) of 22.11s at the final leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels. Joanna Atkins (No. 7 with 22.27s) and Team Americas partner, Anthonique Strachan (No. 12 with 22.50s) are also key contenders in the race. Their Asian-Pacific rivals comprise of Olga Safronova, (No. 34) with 22.85s, while Melissa Breen is further down at the 158th spot (23.37s).

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Dominique Duncan will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 200m on Sunday Sept 14th at 7.35pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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African Long Jump Champion Ese Brume squares up to World No.1 @ Continental Cup

12 Sep

Two years ago, the name Ese Brume barely rang a bell. The Delta State athlete has made tremendous progress since her 2012 National Sports Festival (NSF) win and has now been catapulted into international reckoning as she goes against the world’s best athletes at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup this weekend, where she will be representing Team Africa in the women’s long jump.

The young athlete has garnered an enviable collection of titles and records, ranging from the African junior and senior titles, record holder in the African junior event, national champion and Commonwealth gold medallist! She finished second behind Okagbare at the National Trials in 2013 and stepped up to the position of national champion this year with a Personal Best of 6.68m in Calabar.

Brume experienced a setback at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon in July, where she failed to make it out of the qualifying rounds with a jump of 5.18m, despite coming to the championship as favourite for the crown. But she blew her fans away with an impressive comeback at the Commonwealth Games, leading the field with a leap of 6.56m and brushing aside threats from her more experienced rivals.She came to the African Championships in Marrakech as the favoured athlete and she didn’t disappoint as Nigeria made it a 1-2 in the event, with team mate Chinazom Amadi finishing second with 6.40m while Brume struck gold with a jump of 6.50m.

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She comes to the IAAF Continental Cup with Cameroun’s Joelle Mbumi who has a Season’s Best (SB) of 6.35m, which puts her at No. 133 on the IAAF 2014 Rankings while the Nigerian is No. 25. Brume told Making of Champions that she’s excited about competing in her first Continental Cup: “I’m looking forward to doing better at the IAAF Continental Cup where I will represent the continent. My dream is to become the world’s best”, she said.             

And so she will be going against the world’s best athlete in 2014 and IAAF Diamond League winner, Tianna Bartoletta of the USA (7.02m). Canadian Christabel Nettey who won bronze behind Brume in Glasgow will also compete in the Americas team. She is No. 19 in the rankings with a distance of 6.73m. Winner of the Zurich leg of the Diamond league series and world No. 3, Eloyse Lesueur (6.92m) and European Championships silver medallist, Ivana Spanovic (No. 8 with 6.88m) will be competing as well. They will be joined by the Asian-Pacific team comprising of Australia’s Margaret Gayen (No. 31 with 6.62m) and Lu Minjia (No. 41, 6.57m).

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Ese Brume will be representing Team Africa in the women’s long jump on Sunday Sept 14th from 7.40pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Gloria Asumnu to face world’s best in 100m @ Continental Cup

12 Sep

Nigerian sprinter Gloria Asumnu will represent Team Africa in the 100m at theIAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech this weekend, following the withdrawal of national, African and Commonwealth champion, Blessing Okagbare.

The competition was meant to be Okagbare’s last outing for the season, but her sixth place finish in the 200m at the second final of the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels last week was perhaps an indication that the African record holder needed to take a break after a long and eventful season, which saw her emerge as double sprint champion at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and African title holder in Marrakech.

Her place in the African team will now be taken by Asumnu, who finished second at the National Trials in Calabar in June where she clocked a Season’s Best (SB) of 11.15s. The former African 200m champion will now team up with Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie J Ta Lou Gonezie to represent the African continent in the 100m.

Asumnu represented Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games where she placed eight in the final and won silver in the 4x100m behind Jamaica. She proceeded to the African Championships where she finished fourth in the final which had three Nigerians, with a time of 11.49s, while Lawretta Ozoh placed seventh in 11.74s.

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She also ran the first leg in the 4x100m race, which was won by Nigeria. However she lost her 200m crown to double silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships, Murielle Ahouré (22.36s), finishing fifth this time around, while team mate, Dominique Duncan emerged the surprise medallist, taking bronze in 22.98s.

Asumnu’s SB puts her 36th in 2014 world rankings, and incidentally ranks higher than Ta Lou Gonezie who has posted 11.20s as her fastest time this season, and is 43rd on the list. They will be facing Michelle-Lee Ahye and Veronica Campbell-Brown who will be representing the Americas. Ahye has the second fastest time in 2014 (10.85s), while Campbell-Brown is No.4 with 10.86s.

They would also have to be wary of the threat the European pair of Dafne Schippers and Myriam Soumaré pose, as they jointly occupy the 13th spot in the rankings with 11.03s and would be aiming to go under 11s for the first time. Asia-Pacific’s Melissa Breen (24th with 11.11s) and Olga Safronova (54th with 11.23s) complete the field.

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Gloria Asumnu will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 8.40pm.

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Tyron Akins leads Team Africa against strong 110m Hurdles field @ Continental Cup!

11 Sep

Nigerian and African 110m Hurdles champion, Tyron Akins, will face the world’s best hurdlers in Marrakech as the IAAF Continental Cup takes center stage this weekend.

Akins, who recently switched allegiances from Team USA to Nigeria, emerged national 110 hurdles champion at the National Trials in Calabar in June and has not looked back since. The Continental Cup will become the third international outing for the hurdler who is keen on maintaining his winning streak.

His first appearance for Nigeria was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he missed out on the finals, finishing seventh in the heats with 13.77s. However Tyrone more than made up for this disappointment by leading teammates Alex Al-Ameen and Martins Ogierakhi in a clean sweep of all the medals at stake in the 110 hurdles at the African Championships last month.

He posted a time of 13.57s, while Al-Ameen and Ogierakhi clocked 13.78s and 13.80s respectively. 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!

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After the race, an excited Akins said, “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.”

Despite an unprecedented 1-2-3 finish in Marrakech however, Akins will be without his Nigerian teammates at the Continental Cup, where athletes from the same nation cannot represent their continent in the same event. Instead he will partner with South Africa’s Ruan De Vries who finished fourth at the African Championships. Akins’ Season’s Best of 13.56s puts him at  63rd  in the world rankings this year, while the South African follows ten places after with a time of 13.62s.

Leading the Americas team is World No.3, Ronnie Ash of the USA who is the only sub-13s performer in the field (12.99s). Cuba’s Yodan O’Farrill is No.10 with 13.19s. Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov (13.13s) is world No.5 this year and finished 2nd in the IAAF Diamond League standings after Pascal Martinot-Lagarde who amassed 27points.  William Sharman of Team GB is No.7 with a time of 13.16s, while No.14, Xie Wenjun of China (13.23s) and Abdulaziz Al-Mandeel (63rd) would represent the Asian-Pacific interest.

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Tyron Akins will be representing Team Africa in the men’s 110m hurdles on Sunday Sept 14th at 6.45pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm

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Tosin Oke closes his ‘Year of the Silver’ with Team Africa @ Continental Cup!

11 Sep

The forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup slated to hold between September 13th and 14th in Morocco may be third time lucky for Nigerian triple jump champion,  Tosin Oke’s who will be making his third visit to Marrakech in as many months.

The five-time national champion competed at the at the Mohammed VI d’Athletisme IAAF World Challenge meeting in Marrakech in June where he dominated the star-studded field which included the likes of former Commonwealth champion, Phillips Idowu, former Olympic and world champion, Nelson Evora and South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena.

He thereafter left for the National Trials in Calabar where he picked his fifth crown with a wind-aided 17.21m, which was just 2cm off his Personal Best (PB) of 17.23m. He made his solo IAAF Diamond League appearance in Glasgow where he placed fourth with a leap of 16.51m, trailing after Christian Taylor (17.36m), Will Claye (17.27m) and Chris Benard (16.54m).

His second visit to Marrakech wasn’t as favourable as he relinquished his African title to Mokoena, leaving as silver medallist instead. Prior to the African Championships in Marrakech, the South African had also dethroned Oke as Commonwealth champion with a Season’s Best (SB) of 17.20m, while the Nigerian recorded a distance of 16.84m.

The gap wasn’t as wide at the African Championships but Mokoena won the GOLD again with his very first jump of 17.03m. Tosin recorded 16.60m in his first attempt, then moved up to 16.96m in the second. He had an SB of 16.97m in his final attempt to give his opponent some anxious moments before settling for Silver again. Olumide Olamigoke took sixth with a jump of 16.18m, after his fourth place finish in Glasgow with 16.56m.

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Team Africa’s Mokoena and Oke currently occupy 9th and 18th respectively in the world rankings and will have to contend with former world indoor champion and Olympic silver medallist, Claye who comes to the meeting with an impressive SB of 17.75m. His team mate Jonathan Silva of Brazil is 21st with 16.96m. The American finished second in the IAAF Diamond League final standings with 16 points behind Olympic champion, Taylor.

Europe’s Benjamin Compaore (5th with 17.46m) and Lyukman Adams (6th with 17.29m) were also active in the Diamond League series and finished third and fourth respectively in the event, while the Asia-Pacific team comprises of China’s Cao Shuo and Renjith Maheswary (53rd with 16.54m).

Perhaps Tosin’s return to Marrakech for the third time will create the perfect atmosphere for another podium performance, even though it is not certain how much of a priority the Continental Cup ranks in his view. He revealed to MoC during an earlier interview that his markers for the season were the African Championships and Commonwealth Games.

He said, “If I retain my Commonwealth title, it will be a success and if I retain my African title, it will be a huge success. Those are the markers for my season; I’m not really interested in Silver or Bronze. I’d like to get GOLD medals; that’s what I do all this work for and that’s how I will work out how good my season is.”

Having just missed out on retaining both titles, it certainly has been the year of the Silver for Tosin – let’s see what he can do at the Continental Cup against some of the world’s best!

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Tosin Oke will be representing Team Africa in the men’s triple jump on Sunday Sept 14th from 5.45pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Africa’s Jelks to battle Asia’s Ogunode and Europe’s Dasaolu in the 100m @ Continental Cup!

10 Sep

Competing in the 100m at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup slated to hold in Marrakech, Morocco between September 13th and 14th is a dream come true for Nigeria Champion, Mark Jelks as he gets set to make a third appearance for Nigeria on the international scene.

 Jelks was thrust into national reckoning in June this year when he switched allegiance from the US to Nigeria, after being recruited by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to run for the country. He raced to his first Nigerian title at the National Trials in Calabar, after which he made his debut appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He ran a time of 10.28s to win his heat and eventually qualified for the final in 10.13s, where he placed a commendable 5th place.

At the African Athletics Championships in Marrakech a week later. Jelks dominated his heat in 10.41s and his semi in 10.16s, while teammates Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Monzavous Edwards also sailed through to the final. While he lowered his Season’s Best (SB) to 10.07s in the final, it was only good enough for Silver as he was upstaged by the man of the tournament, Cote d’Ivoire’s Hua Wilfried Koffi who sprinted to the African title with a Personal Best (PB) and National Record (NR) of 10.05s. 

Koffi also added the 200m title to his kitty two days later with another NR of 20.25s, making him the third man in the competition’s history to win the African sprint double, after Victor Omagbemi (1992) and Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks (2002).

The men’s 100m race in Marrakech is expected to be a close one as Jelks (world No. 35 this year) partners with the Ivoirian (No. 28) to neutralize the onslaught of the Americas team led by the world’s second fastest man in 2014, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago (9.82s) and USA’s Michael Rodgers (9.91s) who is No.4 in the IAAF 2014 Rankings.

Newly crowned European champion, James Dasaolu (No. 16), who has an SB of 10.00s, will be joined by predecessor, Christophe Lemaitre who is 46th on the rankings with a time of 10.10s. Nigerian-born Femi Ogunode, who switched allegiance to Qatar in 2009, jointly occupies the 28th spot with Koffi (10.05s). His team mate is China’s Zhang Peimeng.

Going by current form, one might suggest that Rodgers is slight favourite in the pack to take victory, but this race is certainly wide open. Can Africa’s finest, Koffi and Jelks, go under 10 seconds and get on the podium? Jelks has dipped inside 10s (9.99s) just once in his career when competing for Team USA, and would hope to do so once more in the colours of Team Nigeria! For African Champion Koffi, it would be entirely new territory…

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Mark Jelks & Hua Koffi Wilfried will be representing Team Africa in the men’s 100m on Saturday Sept 13th at 8.50pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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Chinwe Okoro set to represent Team Africa in discus and shot put @ Continental Cup!

9 Sep

National discus champion, Chinwe Okoro, who won the African title last month with a Personal Best (PB) and Championship Record (CR) of 59.79m, will represent Team Africa at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech in both the discus and shot put, after also getting an African Championship medal in the latter – a Silver. 

It was a 1-2 for Nigeria at the discus event at the Africa Championships, as teammate Nwanneka Okwelogu followed with 51.66m, but Morocco’s Amina Elmoudeen, who placed 3rd with a throw of 48.21m will be Okoro’s teammate at the Continental Cup on September 13 and 14, as two people of the same nation cannot represent the continent in the same event.

Speaking after her victory in Marrakech, Chinwe made no secret of the fact that she hopes to send more records tumbling in the near future: “It was my best performance, and my next goal is to realize the best record in the next competitions,” she said. Okoro’s throw in Marrakech makes her 42nd in the world this year, and she will be looking to break that 60m barrier at the Continental Cup!

The woman to beat will undoubtedly be reigning European, World and Olympic champion, Sandra Perkovic (SB 71.08m), who won the 2014 Diamond Race, after dominating all but one of the seven meets for the discus. The world leader, along with France’s Melina Robert-Michon (world No. 12 with 65.51m) make up Team Europe. 

The duo of Gia Lewis-Smallwood (No. 2 with 69.17s) and Yaime Perez (No. 8 with 66.03m) will represent Team Americas, while Dani Samuels of Australia (No. 3 with 67.99m) and China’s Yang Yanbo (No. 20 with 63.31m) complete the field for Team Asia.

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In the shot put, Valerie Adams will be the woman to beat. She is the reigning world indoor and outdoor, Commonwealth and Olympic Champion, as well as defending champion of the Continental Cup. Adams won the Diamond Race last week in Brussels with a world lead of 20.59m. She and World No.4, Gong Lijiao of China (19.65m) are representing the Asia-Pacific.

Christina Schwanitz (No. 2) and Evgeniia Kolodko (No. 5) will compete for Team Europe, having made throws of 20.22m and 19.52m respectively this year. Schwanitz is the reigning European champion and silver medallist at the last World Indoor and outdoor championships. USA’s Michelle Carter (No. 3) with an SB of 19.80m and Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad and Tobago (No. 7) complete the field.

Okoro goes to the competition with an SB of 16.40m in the shot put, and is 108th in the world this year, while teammate and African Champion, Cameroun’s Auriol Sally Dongo (16.48m) is 76th in the world. Okoro freely admits that the discus is her preferred event, as such the African pair will no doubt benefit from the exposure that comes with competing against a top notch field!

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th and 14th) and Chinwe Okoro will be representing Team Africa in the women’s discus on Saturday Sept 13th from 7.50pm and the shot put on Sunday Sept 14th from 6.30pm.

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

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