BY BEN EFE, Mauritius
Harry Chukwudike lived up to expectations as he was the arrow-head of Nigeria’s medal hunt in the sprints events decided at the African junior championships here in Mauritius.
Chuwudike ran 10. 54 seconds to win the men 100m dash, while Mamus Emuobonuvie won silver with 10.58 and Jonathan Permal of Mauritius placed third with 10. 65 seconds. Chukuwdike made it gold number two for Nigeria in the 4x100m relay in a race that was efficiently executed by the Nigerian quartet featuring Emuobonovie, Divine Odururu and Tega Odele.
However, in the women version of the 100m, Ese Brume and Nkem Ezealah failed to win a medal as they finished 4th and fifth respectively in a race that was surprisingly won by South Africa’s Thebogo Mamathu with 11.98 seconds, Yuma Tamangu of Ethiopia ran 12.12, while South Africa’s Philippa Van Der Merve took the bronze medal with 12.16. She denied Brume the bronze in a photo finish for the third place. It was a medal Nigerian officials thought was already in the kitty.
But the women made up with the 4x100m gold. Nkiruka Uwakwe practically won the race when she made a brilliant start and it was complemented by a clinical baton exchange beginning with Brume, Margaret Bolufuwa and Ezealah. South Africa was second while Mauritius was disqualified for crossing the change over zone.
In the women 400m, Ada Benjamin won gold; her first ever since she started running in the junior category. She finished powerfully at 52.87 seconds beating her compatriot, Rita Ossai who clocked 53. 84 for the silver, while Ethiopian Sallam Tareke was third with 54.80 seconds.
In the men’s race Omezia Akerele won silver with 47.32 in the race that was won by Dennis Opio of Uganda with 46.94.
“I was here hoping to run my personal best, but that didn’t happen, it is because we ran a straight final and it was the first time we will be running after all that training we did,” said Ossai.