Tag Archives: Morocco

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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Africa’s Ogoegbunam to face Americas’ Spencer & Asia’s Adekoya in 400m Hurdles @ Continental Cup!

9 Sep

Faster times may just be around the corner for Nigeria’s Amaka Ogoegbunam who will be rubbing shoulders with the world’s best 400m hurdlers when the IAAF Continental Cup gets underway in Marrakech, Morocco on September 13th and 14th

The season has been a long one for the hurdler who came to national prominence at the 2009 National Sports Festival (NSF) where she won two gold and a silver medal including the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles. After having an injury-ravaged 2013, she has featured in most legs of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League which she dominated, and her efforts paid off after emerging Nigerian Champion at the National Trials in June in Calabar, which earned her a call-up for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

In Glasgow, she qualified for the final where she would have run a Personal Best (PB), but was disqualified along with South Africa’s Wenda Theron Nel. She brushed aside the disappointment with a silver medal winning performance at the African Championships. There, she led her heat in 56.49s, and the final turned out to be a defining moment in Ogoegbunam’s career as she came second behind Nel, clocking a PB of 55.46s, which places her as No.23 in the world this year. The South African is 13th with a time of 54.82s.

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Speaking with Making of Champions after her feat, Amaka gushed: “I feel so happy that I don’t know what to say. I’ve worked so hard this season, and then coming here to run a PB is massive. I am so grateful to God and my coach. I think I’m going to do much better at the Continental Cup; I just have to go and work on my technique because I believe that I can do a 54 low.”

At the Continental Cup, Ogoegbunam will be facing contenders who dominated her event at the Commonwealth Games. Top on the list is Kaliese Spencer who is the reigning Commonwealth Champion, world leader and winner of the Diamond Race Trophy. The Jamaican who comes with a Season’s Best (SB) of 53.41s virtually dominated the event this season, winning six of seven legs in the Diamond League series and amassing a massive 30 points. Spencer will be joined by world No.2, Kori Carter (53.84s) in the Americas team.

The only athlete who vanquished Spencer in the Diamond League this season in the very first race was Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya, who will also pose a formidable threat representing Team Asia. Adekoya, who switched allegiance to Bahrain under controversial circumstances, is No.7 in the world this year with a time of 54.59s, in the Doha Diamond League meet that she defeated Spencer in May. She will be joined by Australia’s Lauren Wells (world No.29) who finished in fourth place at the Commonwealth Games and has an SB of 55.69s

The European team comprises of formidable opponents as well in the persons of newly crowned European champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Eilidh Child of Team GB who is the fourth fastest athlete this year (54.39s) and Anna Titimets of Ukraine who is sixth in the world this year with 54.56s.

 

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Amaka Ogoegbunam will be representing Team Africa in the women’s 400m Hurdles on Saturday Sept 13th at 7.15pm!

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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