- Akani Simbine, TA Lou win men and women 100m titles
Femi Solaja in Asaba
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth gold medalist, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, extended her winning streak at major championship yesterday as she won Nigeria’s first gold medal at the ongoing African Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba by claiming the top spot in the 100 metres women’s hurdles final.
The Nigerian hurdler returned the time of 12.86secs while Steenkamp Rikennete of South Africa came second in 13.18 and Okou Rosvitha of Côte d Ivoire won bronze with time of 13.39. The other Nigerian in the pack, Favour Efe placed sixth with a distant 14.18 seconds.
Moments after fans at the Stephen Keshi Stadium celebrated Amusan’s feat, Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi struck another gold in the men’s shot put event. He threw a distance of 21.08m to pick the precious medal.
However the anticipation for more medals by Nigerian fans were short lived in the 100 meters men and women in which three Nigerians were in contention for the medals. When the smoke was cleared, and as expected, Marie-Josee TA Lou of Côte d’ Ivoire won the women race in 11.15 secs while Ghanaian Janet Amponsah came second in 11.54 while Nigeria’s Joy Udo-Gabriel won bronze in 11.58 secs.
In the men’s 100 meters final, as expected Simbine Akani of South Africa picked the gold in 10.25 while Cisse Gueu Arthur of Côte d’ Ivoire picked silver in 10.33 and Magakwe Simon won bronze in 10.35 secs.
Nigeria’s hope in the race, Adeseye Ogunlewe finished fifth in 10.45 secs.
In his post race interview, the Nigerian attributed the below par performance to the ‘bumpy’ track of the stadium.
“I was unfortunate to run on lane seven and after 10 meters, I felt like falling down but managed to pick myself and other contestant complained too.
“But it is important to state here that Akani was a great sprinter who managed the difficulty situation better than I did.
“I am at a loss presently because I failed before the Nigerian fans and hoped for better outing next time,” he commented.
In his reaction, Akani also confirmed the bumpy state of the track but acknowledged the fact it is not new to him.
“I don’t want to say anything about the state of the tracks or my win today. I am delighted by the turn out of fans and my concern is more of how the athletics will improve on the continent and perhaps the black race.
“I plan to win more with my team in the relay race and I will be looking forward to race before this friendly atmosphere again in the course of the this championships,” Akani remarked yesterday at the media tribune.
In another field event, Nigeria’s Temilola Ogunrinde won silver in the women’s hammer throw.
She return 67.39m. Soukaina Zakour of Morocco won the event with 68.28metres and Bawsikita Jennifer Batu of Congo Democratic Republic won bronze in 66.43 meters.