U.S.-based athletes’ performance excites AFN

The build-up by some Nigerian athletes based in the United States ahead of the National Trials for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is giving officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) great excitement.
Favour Ofili

Favour Ofili

The build-up by some Nigerian athletes based in the United States ahead of the National Trials for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is giving officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) great excitement.
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Since the end of the 13th African Games in Ghana, where track and field stars helped Team Nigeria to the second position on the medals table, the nation’s athletes have turned in impressive results in various meets across the United States.
 
At the weekend, Favour Ofili, who was not part of the party in Ghana, ran the fastest time of her career, clocking 10.85secs to win the women’s 100m at the Battle on the Bayou.
 
She beat Brianna Lyston of Jamaica, who clocked 10.87s and USA’s McKenzie Long. The time is Ofili’s fastest in all conditions, but she holds a legal 10.93 lifetime best.
 
Also, Godson Brume, who could not make the African Games train to Ghana, won his 100m at the Battle on the Bayou, running in 10.17secs. He ran 20.74secs in the 200m.
 
Perhaps, the biggest race came from Favour Ashe, who returned to action after an unfortunate brush with the Auburn Police to prove he is not a one-race wonder sprinter, running the world’s first sub-10s wind-legal 100m of the season, at Auburn Track and Field, USA.
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The 21-year-old sped to a Personal Season’s best and world-leading time best of 9.99secs to win the 100m event at the Florida Relays in Florida. He supplanted Japan’s Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (10.02sec) as the fastest man so far this season outdoors.
 
Before then, Samuel Ogazi broke a 26-year-old record to emerge as the new Nigerian 400m U-18 record holder after running a 45.35seconds lifetime best at the 2024 Battle on the Bayou held at the LouisianaState University’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge.
 
Ogazi was beaten to the top position in the final classification by Christopher Morales Williams, who ran 45.18 to win, but the Nigerian made history as the fastest Nigerian U-18 to break 45.40 seconds in the event.
 
Nduka Awazie ran 45.44seconds to set the mark in Senegal in 1998 and it stood for 26 years until Ogazi, who came to the competition with a 45.91seconds lifetime best and 46.26seconds personal season best, erased it.
 
According to SportsNow.com, Ogazi’s time is also the second fastest Nigerian U-20 time of all time behind Emmanuel Bamidele (45.28seconds) and the fastest U-20 time in the world so far this term.
 
“I can’t imagine what the AFN National Trials will look like in a few months to come,” an official said in a chat with The Guardian yesterday.
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