AFN tips Regina George for World Championship medal in Beijing
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has described as ‘marvelous’ the victory by US-based 400m runner, Regina George, at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, an IAAF World Challenge event in Kawasaki, Japan, Sunday.
Cool-headed George, who was part of Team Nigeria’s 4x200m gold winning quartet at the recently concluded IAAF World Relays in Bahamas, made another big headline on Sunday in far away Japan, where she brushed aside challenges from Jamaica’s Patricia Hall and others to win the gold.
At the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Japan, George stormed to the title in 51.30s, which equals her Season’s Best (SB) she posted during the All Nigerian/Cross River Open in Calabar last year. It is also an improvement from the time she set in her first 400m race of the season (51.89s) in Texas last month. Jamaica’s Patricia Hall was second in 51.99s, while the American duo of Jasmine Chaney and Briana Nelson finished 3rd and 4th respectively in 53.19s and 53.43s.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Technical Director of AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, said that George had been consistent in her bid to run a sub 50 this season, adding that the 24-year old is a good contender for a medal in this year’s IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, later in August.
“I feel so happy for Regina George because she has been so consistent this season in her determination to run a sub 50s in the 400m. If she continues this way, George will be a serious contender for a medal in the World Championship in Beijing. I am happy for her performance in Japan,” Nesiama said.
The victory by George in Japan came few hours after another Nigerian, sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, was beaten to the gold medal at the World Challenge, an international invitational meeting in Kingston, Jamaica. Okagbare came second with a time of 11.05secs behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, who finished at 10.97secs.
An elated Regina George said after winning the gold in Japan that starting her season with the 800m was responsible for her performance.
“I ran I pretty good race. My coach wanted me to come here and run 51.3s and I accomplished that, so I’m looking forward to where I’m going to run next. I did more 800m to get the strength; I just started to get my speed going.
“My next biggest goal this year is to go to the World Championships in Beijing and try and make the final and run sub-50s. I also want to get a medal at Rio 2016 Olympics Games as well. I was there in 2012 and I just missed the final. So, I’m training really hard to make that final and be medal contending in Rio,” George said.