Tag Archives: Folashade Abugan

Team Nigeria & Zambia’s Mupopo in Team Africa’s 4x400m @ Continental Cup!

13 Sep

Team Nigeria’s trio of Folashade Abugan, Patience Okon George and Ada Benjamin will be aiming to end the season on a high as members of Team Africa’s women’s 4x400m relay team at the IAAF Continental Cup this weekend in Marrakech.

Okon George , Regina George, Benjamin, Abugan won a fourth consecutive continental title for Nigeria during last month’s African Championships in Morocco with a time of 3.28.87s, ahead of Kenya (3:32.26s) and Botswana (3:40.28s).

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However Regina was excluded from the team and will be replaced by silver medallist at the Championships, Kabange Mupopo of Zambia who posted the same time as Abugan (51.21s) in the 400m final but had to settle for second place via a photo finish. Interestingly, Mupopo is also the team captain for Zambia’s senior national football team, the ‘She-polopolo’!

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Getting to the podium this weekend will be the final icing on the cake for the Nigerian athletes, two of whom (Abugan & Okon George) won bronze at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with a time of 3:24.71s, behind Jamaica’s 3:23.82s, and then gold at the African Championships.

The Nigerian team ranks third on the 2014 IAAF Rankings with a Season’s Best (SB) of 3:23.41s behind the USA (3:21.73s) and Jamaica (3:23.26s). Abugan and Mupopo jointly hold the 21st position in the world, having posted 51.21s as their fastest times this season. Abugan clocked the time twice to emerge National and African champion.

Okon George is 25th in the world with 51.29s while Benjamin occupies the 44th spot with a Personal Best (PB) of 51.68s, which she ran in the heats of the 400m in Marrakech.

Team Africa will go against a strong Americas field comprising of world leader Francena McCorory USA (49.48s) and the Jamaican trio of world No. 4 and Diamond League Trophy winner, NovleneWilliams-Mills (50.05s), Commonwealth Champion, Stephenie Ann McPherson (No. 5 with 50.12s) and Christine Day (No. 6 with 50.16s). The USA and Jamaican teams finished ahead of Nigeria at the IAAF Relays, while Jamaica dominated the event in Glasgow, with Nigeria following in second.

The European team is made up of Italian quartermiler, Libania Grenot (No. 10 with 50.55s), Ukranian Olha Zemlyak (No. 20 with 51.07s), Indira Terrero (No. 32 with 51.38s) and Malgorzata Holub (No. 59 with 51.84s). The reserve athletes are Elena Korobkina of Russia and Antoinette Nana Djimou of France.

Asia-Pacific will be represented by the Australian team which ranks 20th in the world with an SB of 3:30.27s. Members of the squad are Anneliese Rubie (No. 93 with 52.35s), Jessica Thornton (No. 112 with 52.50s), Kendra Hubbard, Lyndsay Pekin with Lauren Wells and Alex Hulley in reserve.

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Folashade Abugan, Patience Okon George, Ada Benjamin and Kabange Mupopo (ZAM),  will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 4x400m on Sunday Sept 14th 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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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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Abugan, Nigeria’s 400m Champion, to face teammates for African Title!

8 Aug

The absence of Defending African 400m Champion Amantle Montsho, has paved the way for Nigerian Champion, Folashade Abugan, to win her first continental title when the 19th African Senior Championships take off from August 10 to 14 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Botswana’s former world champion, and 2010 Commonwealth champion, was dethroned in Glasgow after she finished in fourth place behind the Jamaican trio of Stephanie McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Christine Day. However she tested positive for a banned stimulant immediately following that race and has been provisionally suspended.

This development is now likely to result in a Nigerian 1-2-3 as Abugan and her  teammates, Patience Okon George and Omolara Omotosho, who are all in Africa’s Top 5 list this season, will now be the favourites for the podium positions in Marrakech. For now, Montsho is top of the continental list with 50.37s, with Abugan (51.21s), Patience George (51.29s), Regina George (51.30s) and Omotosho (51.56s) completing the Top 5 (Regina will not be in Marrakech, following the injury she sustained during last week’s Commonwealth Games).

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas. She is Nigeria's 400m Champion in 2014, winning at the  Nigerian National Championships in 51.39s!

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas. She is Nigeria’s 400m Champion in 2014, winning at the Nigerian National Championships in 51.39s!

Incredibly this could be the first time that Nigeria sweeps the medals in the women’s 400m at the African Championships since 1990, when Fatima Yusuf, Charity Opara and Emily Odoemenam took to the podium, and would be the first Nigerian victory in the event since 1998, when 400m African Record Holder Falilat Ogunkoya won an incredible 200/400m double with then Championship Records of 22.22s and 50.07s respectively! Incidentally Abugan claimed Silver in 2008 and Bronze in 2010, both times behind Montsho who won GOLD on each of those occasions.

Abugan has been consistent this season, and was a member of the Bronze winning 4x400m team at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas in May. She put up an impressive performance to dethrone two-time winner, Regina George, at the National Trials in June and then anchored the 4x400m team to a Commonwealth Silver medal in Glasgow just last week. She was the only one of Nigeria’s ‘Fantastic Four’ to reach the individual 400m Final in Glasgow where she finished 5th, and she will be the athlete to beat in Morocco!

Folashade Abugan, 400m Nigerian Champion, after receiving the baton from Ada Benjamin  for the last leg of the women's 4x400m at Hampden Park in Glasgow at the 2014 C'wealth Games.  Jamaica won the GOLD, with Nigeria getting the Silver and England the Bronze!  (Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Scott Heppell)

Folashade Abugan, 400m Nigerian Champion, after receiving the baton from Ada Benjamin
for the last leg of the women’s 4x400m at Hampden Park in Glasgow at the 2014 C’wealth Games.
Jamaica won the GOLD, with Nigeria getting the Silver and England the Bronze!
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Scott Heppell)

That said, Okon George and Omotosho are bound to give Abugan a good fight for the title, noting that the trio also swept the medals at the National Trials in Calabar, and were also members of the Silver winning team in Glasgow and Bronze Medallists in the Bahamas. A Nigeria 1-2-3 is definitely on the cards ahead of the championships in Morocco.

Women’s 400m Schedule: August 10 – Round 1 at 6.10pm, August 11th – Semis at 7.50pm, August 12th – Final at 7.00pm

(NB: This program is liable to change according to the number of participants and the local conditions)

African womens 400m list copy

Mixed fortunes for Nigeria as Abugan makes 400m Commonwealth Games Final

29 Jul

Team Nigeria’s conquest for medals took a dramatic turn on Day 2 of athletics at the Hampden Park in Glasgow as Nigeria’s No.1, Folashade Abugan was the only one of three athletes to qualify from the semi-finals of the women’s 400m at the ongoing Commonwealth Games, through to the final on Tuesday night.

Abugan competed in Heat 2 of the semis, and missed out on automatic qualification as she finished third behind Jamaica’s Christine Day (51.02) and Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas in 2nd with 51.58s. However Abugan’s time of 51.71s qualified her as one of the fastest losers, along with Kineke Alexander of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who posted 52.12s behind Abugan.

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas. She is Nigeria's 400m Champion in 2014, winning at the  Nigerian National Championships in 51.39s!

Folashade Abugan at the World Relays in the Bahamas. She is Nigeria’s 400m Champion in 2014, winning at the Nigerian National Championships in 51.39s!

Unfortunately, her compatriots, Omolara Omotosho and Regina George had no such luck as they both failed to make it to the final, after finishing 3rd and 6th respectively. Omotosho competed in Heat 1 and came agonizingly close to automatic qualification; she however missed out on a place in the final as she finished 3rd in 52.34s, trailing Jamaica’s Stephanie McPherson (50.69s) and Kelly Massey of England (52.19s) who beat her near the line as she started to tie up and lose her form in the final straight. 

More surprising was the performance of Regina George who finished a distant sixth with 53.48s in Heat 3 which was won by the Commonwealth’s top athlete, Novlene Williams-Mills in 50.73s. The Jamaican was followed by defending champion, Amantle Montsho (50.96s) and England’s Margaret Adeoye who returned a time of 52.48s in 3rd. George, the darling of many Nigerian fans could not replicate the form that saw her inspire Nigeria to a bronze medal finish at the inaugural edition of the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas earlier this year. Rumour has it that the 22-year old was carrying an injury after the heats, and as such couldn’t post a performance deserving of a place in the final. One wonders though why she was picked ahead of Patience Okon George, who finished ahead of her in the National Trials in third place, and really ought to have run the individual 400m, unless she was injured!

Abugan will be engaged in the battle for supremacy ahead of Tuesday’s final when she goes against a star-studded field which includes Williams-Mills, Day and Montsho (1st, 2nd and 3rd fastest in the Commonwealth this year). She comes to the field with the second slowest time and will need to extra inspiration if she is to get to the podium on Tuesday. As we predicted yesterday, Abugan was the surest bet to reach the final, and is so doing confirms her position as Nigeria’s No. 1 this year. She will have to watch out for the Jamaicans who coincidentally dominated the various heats. Can she pull of the same kind of upset that saw her dethrone Regina George as national champion?

 

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