Enekwechi shatters 36-year-old national hammer record
Bayelsa athlete dethrones African scrabble champion
The ongoing Delta 2022 National Sports Festival recorded a major breakthrough yesterday, as Chukwuebuka Enekwechi made a bright start on his quest to dominate the throw events, winning the gold medal and breaking the national hammer record in the process.
Enekwechi, representing Delta State, was a class ahead of other competitors in the hammer throw, as he heaved 67.45m to erase the previous record of 66.76m set by Christian Okoye in March 1986.
Mostapha Al Gamel of Egypt holds the African record with a distance of 81.27m.
Baba Ibrahim, also of Delta State, threw 46.85m to grab the silver, while Michael Aiyegbeni of Akwa Ibom threw 44.80m to win the bronze medal.
Enekwechi is in contention to win a hat-trick of gold medals when he competes in the short putt and discuss throw.
“Enekwechi is in a class of his own in the NSF and I am quite sure this will spur him to do better in the shot putt and discuss,” coach Gabriel Opuana said yesterday.
It’s Enekwechi’s second throw record. He holds the national record in the short putt with 21.80m.
Meanwhile, Akpos Malafakumo Best has created a major upset in the scrabble event of the festival by dethroning the current African Women Scrabble champion and two time defending champion of the NSF, Tuoyo Mayoku, in the women singles category.
The Bayelsa State-born player won a total of 14 games and accumulative points of 1782 to take the gold medal, while Mayoku, representing Delta State, got the silver with a total of 12 games with accumulative points of 680.
Mayoku came into the Festival as clear favourite, having won gold medals at Abuja 2018 and Edo 2020 editions of the NSF. She also emerged the women champion at the recently concluded African Scrabble Championship in Lusaka, Zambia, two months ago.
In the male category, Olatunde Oduwole from Lagos State won gold in the singles category ahead of current African scrabble champion, Enoch Tochukwu Nwali, also of Lagos State and former world scrabble champion, Wellington Jighere of Delta State.
Speaking on the victory, Akpos Malafakumo Best attributed her achievement to determination and hard work.
The player, whose name Malafakumo means ‘fear not,’ said that she was determined to win the title even before the commencement of the Sports Festival.
Thrilled by the performance of the athletes at the Festival, president of Scrabble Federation of Nigeria, Toke Akah, described the sport in Africa as a unique and unpredictable game.
“There is also some element of luck in the game. Invariably, the victory of the Bayelsa State born Akpos Malafakumo Best is an upset but not completely out of place when it comes to the game of scrabble,” he said.
On his part, president of Pan African Scrabble Association, who also doubles as chairman of Ogun State Scrabble Association, Adekoyejo Adegbesan, said Akpos Malafakumo Best’s victory did not come to him as a surprise.
“The lady has shown a lot of promise over time considering her performances in both the Scrabble League tournaments and different Scrabble Championships in recent times,” he said.
The Scrabble event male and female category continued yesterday.