Tag Archives: Dominique Duncan

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!)

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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Blessing Okagbare opts out of Long Jump to chase 200m GLORY @ C’wealth Games!

30 Jul

Blessing Okagbare fans could well be in for a treat and a complete spectacle in the women’s 200m at the Commonwealth Games, as the newly crowned 100m Commonwealth Champion is the red hot favourite to complete the sprint double with the 200 metre crown on Thursday night! Such is Blessing’s class beyond the rest of the Commonwealth field in the 200m, that it may simply be Blessing versus the clock. She took Debbie Ferguson’s 100m Commonwealth Games Record on Monday night, and may just take the same woman’s 200m Games Record (22.20s) on Thursday. The big question is: does Blessing just want the GOLD, or does she want to lay down a marker for years to come, by attacking Mary Onyali’s 18-year-old 200m African Record of 22.07 seconds?

Okagbare has been imperious form in the 200m this year, having made it her event of focus recently, despite starting out as a long jumper and then a 100m sprinter. She is 2nd fastest in the world this year with a PB of 22.23s, behind USA’s Tori Bowie (22.18s), she holds FOUR of the 10 fastest times this season and is leading the 200m Diamond Race. Her closest Commonwealth  competitor is Anthonique Strachan, the 2012 Double World Junior Champion and 9th fastest in the world this year with 22.50s, but she has inexplicably not been entered for the 200m – one imagines it could only be due to injury:

2014 CWG Womens 200 list FINAL

That leaves her main threat once again most likely to come from the Jamaicans – McLaughlin, Henry-Robinson and Calvert, who are 6th, 11th and 13th respectively in the Commonwealth this season, but ALL half a second slower than Okagbare. England’s Jodie Williams is the fastest Commonwealth athlete after Blessing competing in the 200m, after setting a PB of 22.60s this season, and while Williams will be a home nations favourite for a medal, she will almost certainly be fighting with the Jamaicans for Silver and Bronze!

An interesting sub-plot is Dominique Duncan’s first outing in an individual event for Nigeria, after switching from Team USA and coming within a hundredth of second to 4x100m Bronze at the World Relays with Team Nigeria! She’s No. 10 in the Commonwealth this year with a PB of 22.82s in April, and if she can replicate that she could also be in amongst the medals. That said, she only ran 23.91s in placing 3rd at the Nigerian Trials in June, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form she is coming into the Games with!

Some Okagbare fans will be disappointed to learn that she opted NOT to compete in the Long Jump at these Games – her compatriot Ese Brume competed in the Heats for that event on Wednesday morning, qualifying for the finals which will take place on Thursday evening, in between the women’s 200 metres semis and finals! From a scheduling point of view, it would have been virtually impossible for Okagbare to attempt TWO 200m races and SIX jumps in the Long Jump on the same night! She has taken the wisest decision, as the sprint double will be the far more widely recognised feat than the 100m and Long Jump combination!

One might recall that last year, Blessing failed to win a 100m medal in the World Championship final because she had taken 6 jumps the night before to win Long Jump Silver, and didn’t have enough time to recover to successfully execute two rounds of the 100m the next day. Clearly, the ‘scheduling gods’ are not working in her favour – global meet organisers will have to accord her the same privilege that they once showed to the likes of Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson, arranging their schedules around these superstars, if we’re ever going to see her attempt to go for THREE individual medals at major competitions!

Blessing is already Africa’s fastest woman ever in the 100m after smashing Glory Alozie’s 14-year-old record last year. The big question on Thursday will be, does she want a ‘Double Portion’ and take the 200m African Record as well? With her 10.85 second 100-metre speed in awesome display on Monday, something tells us that if Blessing decides she wants to re-write the 200 metre history books on Thursday night, she just might!

MoC PREDICTION: Barring injury, Nigeria’s favourite daughter Blessing Okagbare will WIN 200m GOLD on Thursday night, and could get the Commonwealth Games Record of 22.20s, but she might not yet be ready to break Mary Onyali’s African Record (22.07s). Even if she doesn’t get the record, we may  be about to witness the BIGGEST EVER winning margin in a global 200m final, since a certain Usain Bolt, ofcourse!

Dominique Duncan should make the final of the 200 metres, and getting a medal would be a huge boost for the 24-year-old. But can she put three rounds of 200 metres together in two days and run fast enough in the final to be in medal contention? The honest truth is that we have not seen enough of her to make a firm prediction on that just yet!

Round 1 of the Commonwealth Games 200 metres kicks off TONIGHT (Wednesday), with Blessing Okagbare in Heat 1 at 9.15pm and Dominique Duncan in Heat 6 at 9.45pmDON’T MISS IT!

The semi-finals start at 6.07pm on Thursday, with the Final shortly after at 8.45pm!

 

 

Nigeria misses Women’s 4x100m World Relay Bronze medal by a hundredth of a second!

25 May

It was a case of close but yet so far for Team Nigeria’s girls, as they missed out on what could have been Nigeria’s very first medal at the Inaugural World Relay Championships on Saturday. The quartet of Gloria Asumnu, Blessing Okagbare, Dominique Duncan and Francesca Okwara finished in a season’s best time of 42.67s, behind Team USA (41.88s), Jamaica (42.28s) and Trinidad & Tobago (42.66s):

This was an extremely commendable run for the quartet, especially considering the Duncan and Okwara were competing for Nigeria for the very first time. They had also run a season’s best in the Heats, with a 42.77s run that qualified them for the final behind Jamaica. In the Final, they were just 3 hundredths of a second off the time that the quartet of Christy Udoh, Gloria Asumnu, Oludamola Osayomi & Blessing Okagbare ran at the London Olympics, also for 4th place.

Despite the narrow loss of the Bronze medal, Nigerians can take solace from the fact that by virtue of finishing in the Top 8 in this event at the World Relays, our women’s 4x100m team have qualified automatically for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing! Let’s applaud them for a job well done – with Team USA not taking part in the Commonwealth Games in July/August, This Nigeria team should be a shoe-in for a Commonwealth Games medal, providing they can get the baton round safely! 

Here’s what the Team Nigeria ladies had to say after the race:

Blessing Okagbare

You missed out on the Bronze by a hundredth of a second – how can the team take this performance?

I think it was okay, it’s a totally new group and we’re just getting to know each other. We’re working on certain things, so I think we did okay

You ran a Season’s Best (SB) in the final, can you take some encouragement from that?

We ran an SB in the heats and the finals, so that’s something to go home with. I think that’s one of the fastest that the Nigeria team has actually done, so I think it’s great for us going forward.

I think you were only 0.4 seconds away from the Nigerian and African Record? Do you think this team can break that record this year or next year?

We will be able to break it – this is a new team, so once the girls start running faster we will do it. Like I said, we’re just getting to know each other and learning so much from each other.

So this team should be in good frame to get a medal at the Commonwealth Games?

Yeah, we’re looking forward to that!

Gloria Asumnu

How do you feel about missing the Bronze by a hundredth of a second? 

I mean that hurts, because it’s like you’re right there. This is the first time that the four of us have run together, believe it or not. We haven’t done many handoffs, so it’s a good sign for what’s to come, we just need to come together as a team and do what we need to do for the Commonwealth Games, and for the following year

You ran SBs in the heats and finals and not very far away from the Nigerian and African Record?

Yes, that’s something we’re chasing, but at the same time we just want to stay healthy and be able to get better individually, so when we come together as four (the improvement) is automatic

What are your hopes for the Commonwealth Games, individually and relay?

Individually, we need to bring home medals. Everyone, no matter what event it is – make the finals and bring home medals! For the relays, we’re keen to focus on that too because, you know, Nigeria loves relays! It’s about team unity, so to bring home a GOLD would be excellent!

Francesca Okwara

This is the first time you’re competing for Nigeria – can you tell Nigerians back home a bit about yourself? What can we expect from you in the coming years?

Well, I grew up in Memphis but my dad was born in Nigeria – he’s from Imo State. I run the 100 and 200 metres – you can look out for me to become one of the top sprinters for Nigeria in the future.

Fantastic – what are your Personal Bests (PBs) in the 100m & 200m?

11.4 seconds in the 100 metres, and 23.3 seconds in the 200 metres

Have you been to Nigeria recently? When will you be coming next?

Actually I’ve never been – I’ll be coming for the first time in June, for the Commonwealth Games Trials. I hope to lower my PBs, to 11.2 in the 100 metres and to 23 low in the 200 metres.

 

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