Tag Archives: Okon George

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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Nigerian quartet in uphill battle for individual 400m medals, but look good in the 4x400m!

27 Jul

Nigeria’s quartet of Folasade Abugan, Regina George, Omolara Omotosho and Patience Okon George have become a formidable  force in the 4x400m relay, following their  heroics at the maiden IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas in May where the team scooped the country’s only medal (Bronze) of the competition.

That said, their chances of winning global medals in the individual 400m, starting with the Commonwealth Games this week, might yet prove challenging going by current statistics, although the possibility of at least one of them staging an upset cannot be totally ruled out. Abugan (SB 51.21s), who dethroned Regina George as national champion in June, is the highest ranked of the quartet in amongst Commonwealth Athletes this year in 7th, while Okon George (51.29s), Regina George (51.30s) and Omotosho (51.56s) occupy the 10th, 11th and 14th spots respectively in the 2014 Commonwealth ratings.

2014 CWG Womens 400 list copy

The athlete to beat in the women’s 400m will likely be Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills (SB 50.05s), number one in the Commonwealth this year, and dominant on the Diamond League circuit earlier this season, before USA’s McCorory and Richards-Ross took over and are the only athletes in the world to break 50 seconds this season. With USA not competing here, Williams-Mills stiffest should come from none other than reigning African and Commonwealth champion, Amantle Montsho from Botswana who will be here to defend her title. Montsho, a former world champion has the third fastest time (50.37s) amongst Commonwealth Athletes, with Jamaica’s Christine Day (50.16) and Stephenie Ann McPherson (50.40s).

With 3 of the top 4 Commonwealth Athletes this year, the Jamaican’s look an extremely good bet for 4x400m Relay GOLD as they rule the Commonwealth standings with 3.23.26 from the World Relays, with the Nigerian quartet looking good for the Silver after posting an SB of 2.23.41 in the Bahamas as well, Nigeria’s 3rd fastest quartet in history, and the fastest by any Nigerian Quartet since the Falilat Ogunkoya-led team of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

That notswithstanding, they would have to watch out for Team England who could be out to spring a surprise on their ‘home turf’, despite world champion, Christine Ohuruogu’s fitness battles. Ohuruogu, the former Olympic champion, is still the highest ranked Briton this season with 51.66 in 15th while her England teammates Anyika Onuora (51.78s), Emily Diamond (51.95s) and Shana Cox (52.11s) are 18th, 22nd and 24th respectively in the Commonwealth standings – don’t count them out just yet!

STOP PRESS: We have just gathered that the THREE from the Nigerian quartet who will compete in the individual 400m are Regina George, Omotosho and Abugan – their heats are coming up TODAY (Sunday) at 4.55pm, 5.16pm and 5.23pm respectively – the latter two will face McPherson and Montsho head one – don’t miss them! Commiserations to Okon George who is actually Nigeria’s N0. 2 this year but misses out on competing in the individual event (we hope the selectors made the best decision)! Undoubtedly she’ll be back for the Relays later in the week!

MoC PREDICTION: ALL THREE Nigerian girls competing can make the final, and we expect at least TWO of them to do it. Which TWO? Difficult to say, Abugan as the Nigerian Champion seems the surest bet, while Regina George desperately needs to find her last year’s form to reach the final and justify her inclusion in the individual 400m, despite finishing only 4th at the Nigerian Trials. We expect a JAM-BOT-JAM 1-2-3 in the final, but hopefully one of our girls can spring a surprise and snatch a medal!

In the 4x400m Relay later in the week, it will be all about Jamaica vs Nigeria! Jamaica’s are certainly favourites for the GOLD, but considering how close Team Nigeria ran them at the World Relays, the GOLD is certainly not too far for our girls to reach for. If Christine Ohuruogu is anywhere near back to here best form, she should help Team England to the Bronze!

 

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