By Dare Esan:
USA-based Stephen Mozia is hoping to follow in Adewale Olukoju’s footsteps when the final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games discus throw event gets underway at the Carara Stadium on Friday morning, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Twenty eight years ago inside the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand Olukoju launched an incredible 62.62m to emerge Nigeria’s first Commonwelath Games champion in the event.
He followed up with a silver medal finish four years later at the Centennial Stadium in Victoria, British Columbia where he switched places with Werner Reiterer,the Australian thrower he defeated to win the gold in Auckland.
Mozia will be eager to become the second Nigerian man to be crowned Commonwealth Games champion in the event after his Shot Put misadventure to the 20th edition of the Games in Glasgow,Scotland four years ago where he ended in fourth position and at the Rio Olympics two years ago in Brazil where he was ranked 28th best.
Today, Mozia will feel motivated by Ckuwuebuka Enekwechi’s silver medal feat in the Shot Put on Monday.He will however have tothrow farther than the 59.95m personal season’s best that got him into the final and even better than the 62.80m personal best he threw four years ago.
The Nigerian will hope for a miracle to surmount the huge obstacles in his path in the form of two Jamaicans, two Australians and a guy from Cyprus.
Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres is favoured to win after throwing 66.20m to win his qualifying group.He holds the world lead at 69.83m and the next best two marks (68.08m) and the 66.20m he threw in Gold Coast on Thursday.
Also ranked way above the Nigerian is another Jamaican,Traves Smikle who threw 64.69m to win the other qualifying group.
Australian duo of Matty Denny who threw a 64.67m personal season’s best to come second in the group behind Smikle and
Benn Harradine,the 2010 champion who was second behind Dacres in the first group will also be tough nuts to crack for Mozia while Cyprus’ Apostolos Parellis,silver medallist from Glasgow four years ago will hope to upgrade to gold Friday morning. He threw 61.45m to place third in the group that has Smikle and Matty Denny.Mozia came fourth in that group.