Tag Archives: Gloria Asumnu

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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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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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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