—Uke, Odumosu Seek Historic Wins
By Sab Osuji In Brazzaville:
Photo By Ganiyu Yusuf:
USA-based Claire Uke who made history here as the first Nigerian woman to win a Discus Throw title at the All Africa Games will spearhead the country’s gold medal rush on the final day of track and field competition at the New Kintele Stadium in Brazaville, Congo.
Uke is favoured to win the Shot Put title in the absence of Chinwe Okoro in one of the seven finals Nigeria will be on parade this evening.
The trio of Obinna Metu, Tega Odele and Divine Oduduru will attempt a Nigeria 1, 2, 3 in the men’s 200m final where Cote d’Ivoire’s Wilfred Kofi Hua could play the spoiler while the duo of Ngozi Onwumere and Lawretta Ozoh will attempt to stop another Ivorien, Marie Jose Talou, from completing a sprint double after taking the 100m gold in a new 11.02 seconds Games record on the second day of track and field competition.
In the 400m hurdles, the duo of Amaka Ogoegbunam and Ajoke Odumosu will want to take advantage of the absence of South Africa’s Wenda Nel, the hottest African in the IAAF circuit this year, to win the gold.
While it will be a first gold for Ogoegbunam if she wins, it will be a second for national record holder Odumosu who is seeking to be the first 400m barrier runner to successfully defend an All African Games title.
High jumper Samson Idiata will try to be the fifth Nigerian to win the long jump title as well as return the country to the summit of the event since 1991 in Cairo, Egypt when George Ogbeide became the third Nigerian winner of the title after Edward Akika (1965), Charlton Ehizuelen (1978) and Paul Emordi (1987).
The final rush of the day will be undertaken by the men and women’s 4x400m relay teams.
While the women’s team to be led by IAAF World Championships 400m semi-finalist Patience Okon George, who won a silver medal in the open quatermile final here in Congo is favoured to make it an eighth consecutive win by Nigeria, the story will be different for the men.
Led by 400m open finalist, Orupe Orayokan, the team’s bid to return Nigeria to the podium as champions 15 years after its victory in Johannesburg, South Africa will certainly be challeneged by defending champions Kenya, who ran 3:04.72 seconds to win the first semi-final, and 2003 and 2007 champions Botswana who have in their ranks former African record holder and the second fastest ever African at 400m, Isaac Makwala.