Accra – Team Nigeria on Saturday in Accra started her ECOWAS Games title defence on a bright start with two medals on the opening day of competition.
In the day’s two athletics events at the El-Wak Stadium, Nigeria won a gold medal and a bronze medal to be among the Games’ leader.
Shimenenge Agber powered past two Ghanaians with about 200 metres left to win the women’s 800 metres gold, with the hosts claiming the other medals.
Agber ran in after two minutes 10.51 seconds to win the gold, while Agnes Abu won silver with 2:12.35 seconds and Rita Lounab the bronze with 2:16.65.
In the men’s 1,500 metres, the hosts ,however, returned the compliment by winning both the gold and silver and leaving Nigeria’s Barnabas David with the bronze.
Sampson Azumah was the winner with 3:57.14, while Bright Atta-Gyamfi was second with 4:03.03 and David with 4:04.19.
Other races held during the opening ceremony were invitational events.
Earlier, while declaring the seven-day Games open, Ghanaian Vice-President John Mahama had urged West African youths to utilise the competition to further integrate the sub-region.
“Not only that, you must use this Games to empower yourselves as sports is now big business nowadays.’’
Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Human Development and Gender, Mrs Adrianne Diop, had underlined the importance of the Games, saying it would help to promote unity .
In his address of welcome, Ghana’s Minister for Youth and Sports, Clement Humado, had assured participants of good competition and warm hospitality.
10 countries took part in the march-past at the occasion. They incude hosts Ghana, defending champions Nigeria, Togo, Republic of Benin, Niger Republic, Cote D’ivoire, Mali, Liberia, Senegal and Burkina Faso.
Sierra Leone, which finished last at the maiden edition in 2010 in Abuja with no medal won, were still being expected at the Games as at Saturday evening.
The Games is expected to end on Friday, June 22. (NAN)