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Nwanaga, Amusan Grab Javelin,100M Hurdles Gold

–Orayokan disappoints,Okon George wins 400m silver

By Sab Osuji In Brazzaville:

Kelechi Nwanaga and junior international, Amusan Tobiloba gave Nigeria cause to smile on Day three of the track and field event of the 11th African 
Games by winning the javelin and 100m hurdles gold respectively.

Nwanaga, competing for Nigeria for the first time threw 52.70m to win the gold ahead of Ghana's Mery Zuta (50.93m) and South Africa's Jo Ane Van Dyk (50.52m) who settled for the silver and bronze medal respectively.

The Nigerian's second round throw put her in the driving seat after Uganda's Lucy Okumo Aber had thrown herself into the lead with her 50.52m effort in the first round.

Nwanaga has thus returned Nigeria to the summit of the event at the  Games 50 years after Helena Okwara threw 40.30m to win the inaugural gold of the event at the inaugural edition of the competition.

In the 100m hurdles, Amusan maintained Nigeria's strong hold on the event by out-hurdling all-comers including her more accomplished compatriot, American-Nigerian, Lindsay Lindley.

Amusan, disqualified at the semi-final stage at the 8th IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk,Ukraine in 2013 ran her second fastest career best of 13.15 to become the 10th Nigerian winner of the event and maintain a 10-consecutive winning streak by Nigeria.

The 18 year old had shown signs of a possible upset in the semi-final on Monday when she ran 13.11 seconds, a personal best to qualify for the final.

Senegal's Gnima Faye,winner of the gold medal at the African Championships in 2012 in Port Novo,Benin Republic came second in 13.28 personal season's best 

while Lindley,the only athlete at the Games who has broken 13 seconds this year (12.97) came third in 13.30 seconds.

There was no upset however in the women's 20km walk where Nigeria's Faustina Oguh (2:06.00) expectedly failed to walk near the podium,finishing ninth in the 

final won by Kenya's Grace Wanjiru (1:38.28) with Ethiopian duo of Aynalem Eshetu (1:39.28) and Askale Tiksa (1:42.25) picking the silver and bronze medals respectively.

The same scenario was played out in the men's 400m where Nigeria's Erupe Orayokan failed to prove his incredible,tongue-wagging 44.95 seconds run in the semi-final, which made him the seventh Nigerian to break 45 seconds in the event was not by happenstance as he finished sixth in the final (45.73).

Botswana's Isaac Makwala predictably won the gold in 44.35 seconds ahead of Kenya's Boniface Mweresa (45.01) who picked the silver medal and another Botswana athlete,Onkaetse Nkobolo (45.50) who settled for the bronze.

Makwala has thus become the second Botswana athlete to win the 400m gold at the Games after Calfornia Molefe in 2011 in Maputo.

In the women's version,Patience Okon George failed to fulfil expectations as she was beaten to the gold medal by Zambia's Kabange MupopoO who ran a new national record and African lead (50.22 seconds) to win with the Nigerian settling for silver in 50.71 seconds,a new personal best.


The two other Nigerians in the final,Tosin Adeloye (51.82) and Margaret Etim (52.64) placed fourth and fifth respectively. 


Okon George had been touted as the favourite for the gold following her 50.76 seconds pre-championships African lead.
 

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