By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Police athlete, Ademola Akomolafe, at the weekend won the 100m event of the 3rd leg of the 2012 AFN/NDDC Golden League in Akure to make it almost impossible for any of the sprinters to lay claim to the jackpot prize.
But before Akomolafe posted his 10.62 against a head wind, the 100m final was not without its usual drama at the sports complex of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. Abia sprinter, Jonathan Mmaju who placed second in the Port Harcourt leg in 10.38 behind Bamidele Taiwo beat the starter’s gun and so got disqualified.
Just like Usain Bolt at the last World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Mmaju lost the chance of picking the N30,000 at stake and the chance to also push for a share of the jackpot prize at the final.
Another police athlete, Tamuno Briggs (10.65) picked the silver while Chukwuma Onyeakwu (10.69) of the Customs club settled for the bronze. Both Bamidele Taiwo who won the event in Port Harcourt skipped the Akure leg while favourites, Elvis Ukale of Delta State was clearly off form and failed to place in the final.
“I am glad that I have proved here that I merited my invitation to the second phased national camp in Port Harcourt. This is my state and I know this track because I train here,” gushed the police athlete, who admitted missing the inspirational support of late Technical Director of the AFN, Sunday Bada.
In the women version, Delta sprinter, Margaret Benson, easily won the race in 11.71 while Peace Uko (11.75) of Ondo and Susan Obehi Akene (11.77) of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) placed second and third respectively.
Benson who won the 100m, 200m and the 4x100 events gold of this year’s Nigeria Polytechnics Games (NIPOGA) at the Federal Poly, Ede, swept past all, including, Josephine Omaka many had hoped would challenge her for the top prize.
“I almost lost the race because I slept on the blocks. The 11.71 I ran in this final is not as good as my PB of 11.58 in the heat,” observed the Otefe Polytechnic Business Administration major.
In the women long jump, Chinasom Amadi who won the first and second leg added this third leg to make her one of the sure bets for the jackpot prize.
Although the Civil Defence Academy jumper was unable to reproduce the 6.44m she opened her season with at the Shagamu All Comers, Amadi leapt 6.15m to clinch this third leg in Akure.
As it happened in both Port Harcourt and Nsukka, Mary Otoaruoh (5.96) of Mega Rocks and Adewunmi Ademuwagun (5.90) of the Police placed second and third respectively.
Another athlete in the fray for a share of the jackpot prize is Benue State middle distance, Agber Shiminenge. She also won this third leg in 2.11;52 mins. NSCDC runner, Philo Ihekandu (2.12;34) was second while the bronze went to Tobi Ashamu (2.14;14) of Oyo State .
Warri is to host the fourth leg of the Golden League on May 19 before the final leg slated for the main-bowl of the National Stadium in Abuja.