Winners of Medley Relay Girls final - Odiong Edidiong Ofonime, Adewale Adewunmi, DeborahCecilia Francis and Junaid Abimbola
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
The eight gold medals won by Nigeria on the final day of the maiden African Youth Athletics Championships in Warri shot the host country to the top of the final medals table as champions with 13 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals.
Egypt that led till the last 24 hours of the four-day championship, only Sunday added the boys’ discuss gold medal to the seven won at the close of Day-three events on Saturday to end up with eight gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
Ethiopia placed third with six gold, 13 silver and six bronze medals while Kenya that came to the competition with five boys and five girls ended up in the fourth position with five gold, four silver and two bronze medals. The Gambia, Eritrea, Morocco, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Namibia completed the list of top ten of the medals table respectively. A total of 16 out of the 33 countries that took part in the four-day championships are represented on the medals table.
Fastest boy of the championship, Divine Oduduru, who dusted all-comers to claim the sprint title earlier, Sunday added the 200m gold to his collection. Oduduru ran 21.56 seconds to lead a Nigerian 1 and 3 in the half lap race. His compatriot, Ismaila Yusuf Adedeji picked the bronze medal (22.03) behind Ethiopia's Beker Haji Toure (21.90) in a repeat of the 100m placing two days earlier. His attempt to add the third in the Medley Relay was scuttled by The Gambia who outpaced Team Nigeria for the precious metal.
However, what Oduduru could not achieve, Deborah Adewunmi Adewale made possible by completing a sprint double with the girls’ 200m. It was also a repeat of the 100m placing as Adewale raced to gold in 24.13 seconds.
Her compatriot, Amusan Oluwatobiloba Ayomide won the silver medal (24.45 seconds) while Ethiopia's Yuma Tegest Tamangnu (24.76 seconds) won the bronze medal
In the 400m hurdles event, Nathaniel Glory Onome ran an amazing race to spearhead a Nigeria 1 - 2 finish. She ran 62.04 seconds to pick the gold ahead of her compatriot, Kadiri Adenike who settled for the silver medal in 62.92 seconds while Morocco's Elghail Nezhu won the bronze in 64.99 seconds.
Ugeh Kasie Veronica shocked all to win the girls javelin event, throwing a distance of 44.33m ahead of Ethiopia's Birinesh Bire Dubale (40.35m) and Egypt's Aya Mohammed Tawfik Elsaeed Elk (36.31m) who settled for the silver and bronze medals respectively.
Atuma Ifeayichukwu Andrew also got his name into record book by out-hurdling his compatriot, Abdulahi Bashiru in the 110m hurdles event. He ran 14.00 seconds to win ahead of Bashiru who ran 14.12 seconds while Mozambique's Machava Creve picked the bronze medals in 14.31 seconds.
Further wins in the women's triple jump, shot put and the girls’ medley relay ensured Nigeria emerge champions of Africa at the youth level.
The quartet of Cecilia Francis, Deborah Adewale, Ofonime Odiong and Abimbola Junaid made the feat possible. The clocked 2:09.36 to leave Ethiopia (1:13.55) and Zimbabwe (2:22.33) struggling for the silver and bronze medals respectively.
Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, restated his government's commitment to sports development in his closing remarks of the four-day athletics fiesta at the refurbished Warri City Stadium. The performance of trio of Nigeria’s rave of the momemts, Olamide, Iyanya and Timaya brought the competition to befitting end.
Mauritius will host the second edition of the championships in 2015.
FINAL MEDALS TABLE
Country G S B
Nigeria -- 13 10 12
Egypt--- 8 6 2
Ethiopia-- 6 13 6
Kenya--- 5 4 2
Gambia-- 2 -- --
Eritrea-- 1 1 1
Morocco-- 1 - 3
Uganda-- - 1 -
B/Faso --- - 1 -
Namibia--- - - 2
Mauritius-- - - 2
Benin- - - 2
Zimbabwe- - - 1
Togo-- - - 1
Mozambique- - - 1
Botswana - - - 1