By Ben Efe, Calabar
Day one of the Cross River All Nigeria Championships produced a banquet of excitement as the form book was rewritten by Blessing Okagbare and Ogho-Oghene Egwero who against all expectations emerged champions of the men and women sprints.
The two races were tight even as the times returned were nowhere near the seasons best performances of all the athletes on the block. It took a photo finish judgment to separate the first and second positions.
The women’s race saw Okagbare and Damola Osayomi battling from the start to the finish. The advantage Okagbare had was her good start and strong finish. Osayomi had to dig deep to keep up with the pace and it was a spectacular finish for both athletes. Okagbare clocked 11. 22 seconds, while Osayomi took the second spot at 11. 23 seconds. Gloria Asumnu making her debut appearance in the Nigeria athletics circle took bronze at 11.36.
“It was a tight race, but obviously it was clear that I took first just at the tape,” Okagbgare stated after the showdown
The men’s race followed a similar parttern. It was a photo finish between Obinna Metu and the dimunitive Egwero. Obinna was in the lead from the start, but his focus was on Peter Emelieze who was on lane four, he never thought about the menacing advance of Egwero. Egwero caught up with Metu on the finish line taking the race in 10.34 seconds, while Metu was in at 10.35 and Emelieze finished at 10.48 seconds. The championships continue today.