After two legs of the Athletics Â Â Â Federation of Nigeria, AFN Golden League, top Â Â Â contenders from the first and second legs are set to face more challenges from their rivals for the jackpot as the third in the series is being decided at the Yaba College of Technology this afternoon.
There is so much excitement amongst the athletes even as they have to contend with extraneous factors. But they are left with no other option, than to compete and put themselves in top shape for the African Championships in Kenya and the Commonwealth Games in India later in the year.
And this is the main motivation as they approach the N1m jackpot on offer on the Golden League. Eight athletes have so far remained unbeaten after the dust settled on Kaduna and Ibadan contests. They include Ogho-Oghene Egwero, Josephine Omanka, and Margaret Etim who is maintaining her lead in the 400m and 200m.
The hottest division is the men and women 100m, where Egwero and Omanka have reigned supreme. Egwero is facing stiff opposition from Benjamin Adukwu, while Omanka has Agnes Osazuwa on her back.
Egwero finished at 10.20 at Kaduna with Adukwu coming on his heel in a photo finish. However, in Ibadan, it was a different picture. Egwero left Adukwu wandering what hit him as he was clearly beaten with a space of two metres. Egwero finished a slow time of 10. 32 and he blamed the slow tracks of the liberty stadium.
Adukwu on his path blamed a bad start for the rough landing in Ibadan. He promised to give it his best when they meet today.
â€œI have worked so hard in training. Since we still have more races to do, I am hoping that I will do better,â€ said Adukwu.
In the women 200m and 400m, Etim is having a free reign. There is no challenger in sight and here in Lagos she will continue her dominance in the absence of tested runners like Sade Abughan. She did 23.78 in Kaduna and 23.99 at Ibadan over 200m while in the 400m she did 52.44 and 52.77 respectively.
In the menâ€™s race Abiola Onokoya has won two races with 46.97 in Kaduna and 46.81 at Ibadan.
This is happening while the likes ofÂ Saul Weigopua is struggling to find his form.
In the women long jump petit Chinazom Amadi is doing great. On the pit she seems to be the only athlete doing the right thing. She made a small improvement of her 6.24m in Kaduna when she recorded 6.37 at Ibadan, the question is, can she find some consistency and make a big jump in Lagos?
Isiakwu Mohammed and Ruth Sani are the other athletes who have maintained their hold on their events.
Mohammed did 1.52.60 and 1.52.49 in the 800m. Sanni has the women 1500m with 4.41.82 and 4.42.55.