—Francis, Egwero, Imhoperamhe, Ogunlewe in 100m final
By Sab Osuji In Brazzaville:
Reigning All Africa Games high jump queen, Doreen Amata will attempt to scale into history books Monday evening just as the quartet of Cecilia Francis ,Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Seye Ogunlewe and Nicholas Imhoperamhe will also hope to write their names in golden ink as the fastest man and woman at the games.
Amata won the high jump title in 2007 when she made her debut and repeated as winners four years later in Maputo,Mozambique to equal the feat of compatriot,Modupoe Oshikoya and South Africa's Hestrie Storbeck who both successfully defended their titles in past editions.
Amata, the African leader this year with 1.94m is however seeking to make history as the first to win three consecutive times and current ratings put her ahead of her rivals which will include another Nigerian,Naomi Osazuwa Uhunoma,the heptathlete who holds a 1.87m personal season's best set last July in Warri at the Nigeria championships.
In the women's 100m,Lagos girl,Francis,coached by the respected Tony Osheku will attempt to become the second woman trained by the coach to win the blue ribband title.
Osheku coached Mercy Nku to run a new 11.03 seconds Games record to win the gold in 1999 in Johannesburg.
Francis,who ran 11.60 seconds to make Monday's final however faces an uphill task in Cote D'Ivoire's Marie-Jose Talou,the only one of three African top sprinters (Blessing Okagbare and Muriel Ahoure of Cote D'Ivoire) at the 15TH IAAF Worlds in Beijing present here.
Talou,who holds 11.04 personal season's best but ran 11.07 seconds to win her semi-final heat comfortably will run from lane seven in the final while Francis will run from lane eight.
Francis will become the sixth Nigerian sprinter to win the gold if the impossible becomes possible.Jumoke Bodunrin won the inaugural gold in 1965,Tina Iheagwan won in 1987,a year after she was crowned IAAF World Junior champion;Mary Onyali won thrice in 1991,1995 and 2003,Mercy Nku won in 1999 while Damola Osayomi won in 2007 and 2011.
For the men,Egwero will be the one to watch as the pocket-sized Nigerian ran a blistering 10.06 seconds to win his semi-final heat and equal his personal best which he incidentally set four years ago at the 10th edition of the games in Maputo.
Egwero will however have to battle the equally impressive Ivorain,Ben Youseff Meitte who ran 10.12 secods to win his semi-final heat.
The Nigerian will be hoping to become the fifth Nigerian after Chidi Imoh (1987),Davidson Ezinwa (1995),Deji Aliu (2003 with a 9.995 Games record) and Olusoji Fasuba (2007) to win the title.
The two other Nigerians in Monday's final are reigning Nigeria champion,Seye Ogunlewe who ran 10.35 seconds to place third in the third semi-final and qualify as one of the two fastest losers and Nicholas Imhoperamhe who ran 10.39 seconds to place second in the first semi-final.
Africa's fastest men so far this year in the event,the South African duo of Henricho Bruintjies (9.97) and Akani Simbine (9.97) are not participating at the games.
In the 110m hurdles,Tyron Akins will seek to add the African Games title to the African championships gold he won last year in Marrakech.The American-Nigerian has been drawn in lane six in Monday's final.
Meanwhile 'Jesus Loving Hurdler,Lindsay Lindley will run in the semi-finals of the women's sprint hurdles also on Monday.She has been drawn in lane five of the first semi-final while the second nigerian in the event,Amusan Tobiloba will run from lane eight in the second semi-final.