Okagbare, Oduduru excited to run in front of kinsmen in Sapele
For years, sports lovers in Sapele, Delta State, and its environs have been looking forward to a day when US-based speed star, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, will compete with other foreign-based athletes in the town, where she was born and brought up.
The opportunity came yesterday, when Okagbare and other sons-of-the-soil, including Divine Oduduru, began their fight to be part of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the Rio Olympic Games.
The 2016 All-Nigeria Athletics Championship will end tomorrow with the CAA Grand Prix and Warri Relays, which are taking place in Sapele for the first time.
Speaking with The Guardian, former African queen of the track, Endurance Ojokolo said: “The excitement is everywhere. This is the first time Sapele fans will be watching Okagbare and Oduduru live. They have been watching them on television over the years. Okagbare and Oduduru are so excited to run in front of their home fans.”
Apart from the duo of Okagbare and Oduduru, Sapele is also the home of Ojokolo, who is now a coach, and former Nigerian sprinter, Olusoji Fasuba. Another athlete, Endurance Abinuwa, is also from the town.
Apart from the women’s 100m, which was decided yesterday evening, Ojokolo stated that she sees a keen contest in the 400m for both male and female.
Sapele Township and its environ is in festive mood for the event, which is sponsored by Delta State Government and Seplat Petroleum.
A first time visitor to Sapele, the oil rich serene city in Delta State needs not be informed that the celebration of the mother of all sports, athletics is taking place in the city.
From Amupe Roundabout, where passengers from Benin, Lagos and other parts of the Northern or Western part of Nigeria either branch to enter the city or alight from commercial buses to take taxis to their final destination, Okagbare’s posters is everywhere.
Okagbare draped in Nigeria’s flag is seen welcoming all to the city with smiles, beckoning on everyone to come to the Sapele Township Stadium and be part of three days celebration on the tracks.
The reigning 100m champion, Seye Ogunlewe, will face a strong challenge from the likes of Oduduru, Obinna Metu and Ogho-Oghene Egwero in the men’s 100m race to be decided today.
The women’s 400m today will also be interesting, Patience Okon-George is the national leader this season, but she will face stiff competition from Margret Bamigbose, Sade Abugan, Ekundayo Sogbesan, Ibukun Maiyegun, Omolara Omotosho and others.
The CAA Grand Prix and Warri Relays will equally be exciting with South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and others sending in their best teams.