*Emmanuel Bamidele rues Wayde van Niekerk’s injury
Kaduna’s track is a pride and kind of peace every athlete will always beg for but the wind was a threat to the athletes. Either way, headwind or tail wind, the reading will make life hard for the athletes. Despite this natural threat, Prosper Ogbonna whose major event is the 400m delved into the lower sprints, the men’s 200m and dropped an outstanding performance.
He definitely raised the bar in the men’s 200m for the 2018 season. He dropped 20.87s with a +5.0 wind. Last season, Ogbonna Prosper won the 400m finals in the U-20 category in 46.56s ahead of Bamidele Emmanuel who ran a 46.85s. Sikiru Adeyemi came in third with a time of 47.49s. The stakes seems getting higher for the current season.
Jerry Jakpa also recorded 21.19s. Heading to the Saturday final, Ifeanyi Ojelih has 21.21 with a +3.9 wind assist. Nigeria Customs’ lanky sprinter, Emmanuel Bamidele is heading in for a tough fight from his 400m and coming to loosen up in the 200m with 21.55s and a +3.9 wind assist.
To Bamidele, “I am just using the 200m to loosen my body. I am set for the Commonwealth Games with the watchful guidance of my coach, Samuel Onikeku. All I am eyeing is a medal of whatever colour. Since 2014 when I emerged on the Nigerian sprints scene, this is my most confident season so far. We have worked hard.
“I had looked forward to running with the South African legend, the world and Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk. It is a dream postponed. He won’t be at the Commonwealth Games which makes my ambition nearer delivery.
“For the current season, it is my wish to enjoy myself, do my best and emerge in the podium in every event I enter.
Enoch Adegoke returned 21.56s and his comments: “the race was okay. For tomorrow (Saturday), if I can run close to or better my PB while also winning it, I’ll be very much happy. I’ll do what I need to do to win, and I’ll try my best even though there are big threats in the line up.
Adegoke has a PB of 10.40s, which was the fourth fastest time in the country in 2017 in the 100m. He set the third fastest time in the heats, which puts him in a good place to finish in the top three, if all other factors remain equal, in the final.
Making the men’s 400m dicey and tighter, the herald of a giant return saw Olympic Bronze medallist, Godday James, burning the Kaduna track. He is returning after a two-year leave of absence. To show how serious he is, he posted a time of 48.40s to win his heat. Orukpe Erayokan also won his heat with a marked difference returning 48.40s like James. Henry Okorie also joined in qualifying for the final with 48.70s.
Akindele Atanda also is in the final. Only him posted a better time ahead of James. He returned 48.39s. The fight can be between these four men. Who wins? See you later in the day at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.
In the women’s 400m race some of the familiar names ready for the final include Ifunaya Muoghalu (55.51), Blessing Obarierhu (58.00s), Rita Ossai (56.89) and Gloria Ibeh (59.58s).
In the women’s 100m qualifiers, 2017 National 200m silver medallist Isoken Igbinosun ran the fastest time of the three qualifying heats as she won her race in 11.48s with a wind aided +1.2m/s.
The troika of Marvelous Asemota (11.61s), Moyosore Badejo (12.18s), and Doris Nwagikwe (12.32s) all ran wind-aided times (+2.7m/s).
The final of the women’s 100m will be spiced up with the speedy Rosemary Chukwuma and Maria Thompson-Omokwe.
Also, the men’s 100m saw most of the athletes run with a tail wind. Former National Champion Obinna Metu was the quickest amongst the lot as he posted a wind-aided time of 10.47s (+2.8) to make the final.
Equally, Enoch Adegoke (10.59s), Funmilola Badewa (10.67s) and Abejoye Oyeniyi (10.58s) all won their heats to qualify for the final. Four qualifiers from the All-Comers having well rested will join the final.