By Sab Osuji In Brazzaville:
Tosin Oke made history Monday as the second man in All Africa Games history to successfully defend a triple jump title after Ghana’s Andrew Owusu in 1999 and 2003.
He also became the first Nigerian to win a track and field gold medal at the Games here in Brazaville, Congo.
Oke, a former British international, made a U-turn at the last minute to wear the green and white colours of Nigeria after his threat at the IAAF World Championships to boycot the Games following the non-refund of his flight ticket for the Nigerian trials in July.
He will however be grateful he did as he finally hit the 17m mark, the first time since 2012, when he jumped 17.23m to win the national title in Calabar.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games champion hopped, stepped and jumped 17.00m to supplant his compatriot Olumide Olamigoke whose 16.73m first round effort had put him in firm control.
Olamigoke extended it further in the third round by adding 25cm to set a new personal best of 16.98m, just 2cm from becoming one of the very few Nigerians to hit the 17m mark and above.
He however settled for the silver medal while Oke remained the third Nigerian to win the title after Samuel Igun who won a high jump and triple jump double in 1965 and the great Charlton Ehizuelen who won in 1978.
Meanwhile the quartet of Tega Odele, Obinna Metu, Divine Oduduru and Ogho-Oghene Egwero ran 38.97 seconds to win their 4x100m relay semi-final heat and qualify for Tuesday’s final.
Cote d’Ivoire, led by 100m open winner Ben Youssef Meitte, came second (39.07) while Zambia came third (39.31 national record) to pick the three automatic slots on offer.