Imaobong Nse Uko, the reigning World U18 fastest girl (51.70s) lived up to expectations on the opening day of the World Athletics U20 Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, running 52.33 seconds to qualify for the 400m final which will be run on Saturday.
Nse Uko, the youngest member of the Nigerian mixed relay team which set a new African record at the Tokyo Olympics ran the fastest qualifying time in the semifinal heats and looks on course to becoming the third Nigerian girl after Fatimah Yusuf (1990) and Bisi Afolabi (1994) to win the quarter-mile gold at the championship.
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The 17-year-old will run from lane six in the final as the lone Nigerian representative. Also through to the final is the 4x400m mixed relay team who also ran the fastest time and a national record time of 3:21.66 in qualifying for the final this evening at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi.
In the 100m, the trio of Godson Oghenebrume, Praise Ofokwu and Tima Godbless qualified for this evening’s semifinal.
Oghenebrume ran 10.35 seconds to win his heat while his compatriot, Favour Ashe (11.00s) disappointed as he finished seventh to crash out of the blue ribband event. In the women’s race, both Ofoku and Godbless made it to the semifinal.
Ofoku ran 11.65 to win heat two of the first round while Godbless was second (11.59) in the third heat behind Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi who ran a new 11.20 national record to win.