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Favour Ofili is a gift to Nigeria’s athletics, says Porbeni

By Gowon Akpodonor
19 April 2022   |   4:10 am
Former Nigerian athlete, Seigha Porbeni, has described new ‘track queen,’ Favour Ofili, as a gift to the nation’s athletics.

Favour Ofili (second right) now holds Nigeria’s women 200m record

Former Nigerian athlete, Seigha Porbeni, has described new ‘track queen,’ Favour Ofili, as a gift to the nation’s athletics.

The 19-year-old Ofili, at the weekend, in far away United States, ran a blistering 21.96 seconds to win the Tom Jones Memorial Classic 2022.

Apart from becoming the first Collegiate athlete to ever go sub 22 seconds, Ofili broke Blessing Okagbare’s 200 metres National Record of 22.04 seconds, which she set in 2018.

Ofili also emerged as the first Nigerian woman to break 22 seconds in the 200m. Her time is the fastest ever in the NCAA record and also the fastest in the world this year.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Porbeni stated that the foundation of Ofili’s dominance in the 200m was laid in 2014, when coach Chet Iyke discovered her in Agbor in the build up to Dr. Awoture Eleyae’s U-14 Athletics championship at Ozoro.

“I will say that Favour Ofili is a gift to Nigeria’s athletics, Porbeni said in a telephone chat with The Guardian yesterday.

“We were scouting for young athletes to represent Team Delta at the Awoture Eleyae’s U-14 Athletics Championship in 2014, when coach Chet Iyke discovered Ofili in Agbor. She was combining the long jump and the sprint events, even when she gained admission into the University of Port Harcourt.”

Ofili, a native of Onicha-Ugbo, Delta State, went on to dominate the National Youth Games in Ilorin with Team Delta before she travelled to the United States a few years ago.

Porbeni revealed that after watching Ofili’s performance at the World U-20 Athletics Championship in Nairobi last year, he knew that the athlete was inching closer to a world-dominance.

At Nairobi 2021 World U20 Championship, Ofili grabbed a bronze medal in the women’s 200m, setting a new 22.23 seconds personal best and a National U-20 record. She later helped the women’s 4x100m team to a bronze medal finish in 43.90 seconds.

“For Ofili to combine her energy, endurance and speed to run 21.96 seconds in the U.S. at the weekend showed her level of consistency. Nigeria now has a new Okagbare and I think Ofili will be thinking of going professional any time because she is ripe for it,” Porbeni said.

Ofili was part of Team Nigeria to the Tokyo Olympics and the World U20 Athletics Championship in Nairobi last year.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Ofili and other nine Nigerian athletes were disqualified from competing due to their failure to comply with the out of the competition testing (OCT) requirement.

AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, has congratulated Ofili saying: “She has made us proud. She has maintained a steady rise in athletics since I included her in our team to the National Youth Games in Ilorin. I am sure she will write Nigeria’s name in gold at African championship in Mauritius, the World Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.