By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Akene Susan Obehi Tuesday returned from a two-year track & field sabbatical to claim the over distance 300m title of the AFN All Comers/Walk race at the Gateway Stadium in Sagamu.
Though her 37.76 was nothing to celebrate, being her very first race in a long while was commendable.
“It was an easy race for me considering that I did not see any one in the line up stopping me from winning here,” said the business administration major from Lagos State Polytechnic.
Though she admitted that the over distance races were stressful, Akene believes it was a fantastic way to start the track season.
“Over distance is difficult but good for athletes who are determined to end the season well. It prepares your endurance and allows you to be able to manage your strength in the course of a race. I think I like the idea of the over distance for the All Comers,” stressed the Nigerian Civil Defence and Security Corps athlete.
Police athlete, Goodness Thomas (37.92) and Rita Ossai (38.17) of Mausi placed second and third respectively in the 300m over distance race for the 200m event.
Akene said her target this year is to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics despite the legion of Nigeria sprinters that will be coming home for the Trials scheduled to hold in Calabar later in June.
“My schooling is over now and I can now concentrate on my track career. My target is to qualify for the Olympics this year,” observed the sprinter who is hoping to repeat her feat at the next leg of the AFN All Comers scheduled to hold in Ibadan next weekend.
In the male version of the event, Delta athlete, Elvis Ukale Akpowene who had earlier won the 150m over distance easily overwhelmed the field that included Enugu runner, Onyeji Nwafor and John Ekundayo Sehubo of Ekiti State University. Elvis hit the finish line in 33.75secs while Nwafor and Sehubo clocked 34.06 and 34.28 respectively to place second and third.
Elvis who ran out of breath at the end of the race is also looking to run a 10 flat to enhance his rating in Nigeria’s track and field.
“I am happy I won after placing second behind Ogho Oghene Egwero here last year. I am hoping to improve my Personal Best of 10.40 to 10 flat this year,” pledged the Delta State athlete.
The next leg of the AFN All Comers Meet is scheduled to hold at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan between March 9 and 10.