Addis Ababa 2015: Team Nigeria, South Africa Head To Photo-finish Again
• Oduduru In 200m Final, Brume Eyes Long Jump Gold
AS it happened two years ago in Mauritius, where Team Nigeria rescued the top spot in the last minute, the battle for supremacy between the country and South Africa at the on-going Addis Ababa 2015 African Junior Athletics Championship may go down the wire, as events end today.
Nigeria overtook South Africa on top of the medals table on Friday by grabbing four gold, but the South Africans soon responded by winning two more gold medals to draw level.
Team Nigeria was beaten to the gold medal in the boy’s pole vault yesterday, as a jump of 4.10m by Poland-based Ituah Enahoro could only fetch the country a silver medal. A Tunisian athlete won the gold.
However, Nigerian athletes qualified for six finals yesterday. One of Africa’s rising stars in the sprint, Divine Oduduru, made it to the 200m final with a time of 20.07 seconds. Oduduru had won the boys 100m gold on Friday with a time of 10.44 seconds.
Two Nigerian girls also made it to the final in the 200m yesterday, just as Team Nigeria also hit the final in both the male and female 4x400m events.
Another area Team Nigeria is hoping to win gold medal today is the girl’s long jump, where sensational Ese Brume is favoured to win. Brume had won the triple jump gold on Friday with a leap of 13.16m.
The Technical Director Of AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiema told The Guardian in a telephone chat from the team’s camp yesterday, that Team Nigeria would do everything possible to defend the title it won two years ago in Mauritius.
Nesiema however dismissed alleged threat by the athletes to embark on strike later today if their allowances are not paid saying: “We are with the athletes here and I don’t see such embarrassing situation happening.”
Asked if the money approved by the Sports Ministry for AFN to embark on the trip to Addis Ababa had been paid, Nesiema said “I can’t comment on that for now.”
It would be recalled that Nigeria beat South Africa to the title on the last day of competition two years ago, when Oduduru captured the 200m gold in a sensational manner in Mauritius.
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