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Itsekiri, Ekanem qualify for African Games 100m final

Itsekiri, Ekanem qualify for African Games 100m final

Nigeria’s hopes of a podium finish in the men’s 100m of the 13th African Games in Ghana was boosted on Monday as two Nigerians Usheoritse Itsekiri and Consider Ekanem both qualified for the final.

In the first of the three semi-final heats, Ekanem put down a marker, winning in 10.37s to qualify for the final ahead of homeboy Barnabas Aggerh who placed second 10.42s. Mauritius’ Gary Bibi who was third with 10.47s also qualified as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

Consider Ekanem 13th African Games, Ghana
Ekanem (second left). Photo credit: Making of Champions

Cameroon’s Benjamin Eseme ran the fastest time in the semi-finals to win the second heat in 10.23s ahead of another homeboy Benjamin Azamati in 10.41s while 100m winner in Nigeria’s African Games trials Israel Okon failed to qualify, placing third in 10.47s seconds.

Itsekiri also followed in the steps of Ekanem, winning the third semi-final heat in 10.29s ahead of Gambia’s Ebrahima Camara who placed second in 10.45s. Namibia’s Hainuca Gilbert secured a non-automatic qualifying spot for the final after finishing third in 10.46s.

Usheoritse Itsekiri 13th African Games, Ghana
Itsekiri (centre). Photo credit: Making of Champions

The Delta-born Itsekiri will be hoping to better the bronze medal he won four years ago at the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.

Nigeria will also have two representatives in the women’s 100m final after Olayinka Olajide and Justina Eyakpobeyan won their semi-final heats.

Olayinka Olajide 13th Africa Games, Ghana
Olajide (left). Photo credit: Making of Champions

Olajide won the first semi-final in 11.46s, while Eyakpobeyan won the second semi-final in 11.61s. The other third Nigerian in the semi-final Blessing Ogundiran could not however make it to the final, placing fifth (11.77s) in the third semi-final won by Gambia’s Gina Bass – who is the favourite for the women’s 100m title – in 11.37s.

Justina Eyakpobeyan 13th African Games, Ghana
Eyakpobeyan (centre). Photo credit: Making of Champions

The finals of the men’s and women’s 100m hold Tuesday evening.

Three Nigerians are also through to the semi-final of the men’s 400m, with Chidi Okezie winning his heat in 45.89s, while Dubem Nwachukwu placed second in the heat running 46.29s behind winner Haron Adoli of Ugadan. Sikiru Adeyemi was third in the first heat in 46.72s behind Zimbabwe’s Gerren Muwishi and Boitumelo Masilo from Botwana.

Adeyemi (second left). Photo credit: Making of Champions

In the women’s 400m, Esther Joseph, Esther Peter and Brittany Ogunmokun also made it to the semi-final after placing first second and third respectively in their separate heats.

Nigeria’s Wisdom Musa Ibrahim also qualified for the final of the men’s 110m hurdles, placing third in the second heat in 14.35s. Comfort James is also through to the final of women’s 800m, after equaling her Personal Best of 2:05.11.

The country’s 4x100m mixed relay team qualified for the final after winning the first heat in a Games Record of 3:15.23s. The record didn’t however stay for long, as it was broken in the second heat won by Botwana in 3:14:36s.

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