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Brume’s big dream amidst ‘crowded’ events as IAAF Championship begins in Doha

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Ese Brume. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

As the 2019 World Athletics Championships begins today in Doha, Qatar, one athlete who will be among the main attractions for many track and field followers across the globe is Africa’s women long jump champion, Ese Brume of Nigeria.

Brume, who has won one Commonwealth Games title and four senior African titles, including a gold medal at the recently concluded African Games in Morocco, is being tipped as a medal contender in Doha by the International Associations of Athletics Federation (IAAF), going by her exploits in the long jump this season.

Before the African Games in Morocco, Brume made big headline when she broke the seven-metre barrier for the first time in her career, jumping 7.05 m (+ 0.9m/s) at the Turkish Championships in Bursa in August. It ranked as the second best African performance in history.

She had improved her personal best to 6.96m in July despite a very strong headwind (-2.1m/s) at a competition in Erzurum.

Brume, who is combining sports with education at the Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus, is among 25 athletes who will fly Nigeria’s flag in Doha for the 10-day tournament holding at the iconic Khalifa Stadium. The contingent is a mixture of both home-based and foreign-based stars.

Three of the athletes, Blessing Okagbare, Divine Oduduru and Ofili Favour will compete in three events each. While the duo of Okagbare and Oduduru will compete in 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay, Ofili will do battle in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay.

Brume and five other athletes, Patience Okon-George, Itsekiri Usheoritse, Tobi Amusan, Arowolo Emmanuel and Ekevwo Raymond will compete in two events each.

Going by IAAF’s programme of events for the championship, Brume seems to have the toughest task among the Nigerian athletes battling in Doha.

Apart from the long jump, which is her usual event, Brume is also listed to compete in the 4x100m relay for Nigeria.

The 4x100m relay Heats will begin on October 4 at 18.40 (local time in Doha), while the long jump Qualification event begins at 15.50 the next day, October 5. Then at 20.05 (same October 5), the women’s 4x100m relay final will take place. The Long Jump final will hold at 17.50 on October 6.

Some track and field analysts are of the view that if Team Nigeria should field Brume in the 4x100m relay, she might burn out the energy she may need to confront her opponents in the long jump event.

Amidst criticism by some athletics followers, the AFN listed nine athletes for the women’s 4x100m relay event in Doha, including Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Rosemary Chukwuma, Bukola Emiabata Jasper, Mercy Usheritse, Ogundare Blessing, Ntia-Obong Mercy and Udo-Gabriel Joy.

Brume, the only Nigerian athlete to compete in the final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where she placed fifth, is the third jumper this season to soar beyond seven metres.

After her 7.05m jump in Bursa, Turkey, in late July, Brume followed up with a victory at the African Games in Rabat with a 6.69m leap, her last appearance before the IAAF World Championship in Doha.

Brume is rated behind Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, who is unbeaten in the last nine competitions.

According to the ITTF, the 25-year-old German champion has leapt beyond seven metres in five of those six competitions. Mihambo leads the world with 7.16m, owns the three best jumps in the world this season, five of the best six, and six of the best eight.

“If Ese Brume can repeat the 7.05m jump in Doha, she might be lucky to win a medal,” former international, Falilat Ogunkoya told The Guardian. “I am saying this because luck has a way of playing out in everything we do in life. I will be very glad to see her on the podium in Doha.”

Born in Ughelli, Delta State, Brume first emerged at national level at the 2012, where she placed sixth in the long jump clearing over six metres. She won the long jump gold medal for Team Delta at the 18th National Sports Festival, Eko 2012.

The following year, Brume set a personal best of 6.53 m (21 ft 5 in) to place second nationally, behind Blessing Okagbare. Brume emerged as one of the most successful athletes at the 2013 African Junior Athletics Championships in Mauritius, where she won the long jump title, took silver in the triple jump, and was part of Nigeria’s winning 4×100 metres relay team. She also placed fourth in the 100 metres.

Brume successfully defended her long jump title at the next edition of the African Junior Athletics Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This time, she added the triple jump and 4 x 100 m relay title, and a bronze medal in the individual 100 metres to her collection.

In May 2014, Brume ran a 100m best of 11.84 seconds, followed with a long jump best and new African junior record of 6.60 m (21 ft 7 3⁄4 in) to win at the Warri Relays. She improved to 6.68 m (21 ft 10 3⁄4 in) at the Nigerian Championships to win her first national title.

Brume was part of Nigeria’s contingent to the 2014 World Junior Championships, but having flown to Eugene, Oregon just a day before competing, she could not perform well.

Five days later, Brume made big headline at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she was Nigeria’s sole entrant for the long jump. She excelled, clearing 6.56m (21 ft 6 1⁄4 in) in the final to win the gold medal. She added another gold medal a few days later at the African Senior Athletics Championship.

As the IAAF World championship begins today in Doha, many athletics followers back home are hoping that Brume should be able to discover her form, and go beyond her fate at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she qualified for the long jump final as the third best athlete in her pool and eventually ended the competition in fifth place leaping a distance of 6.81 meters. This time, the fans want Brume to go beyond the 7.05m she jumped earlier this year in Turkey.


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