Team Nigeria has made giant strides in the city of Ndola, Zambia, venue of the ongoing 2023 African U-18 and U-20 Athletics Championships, winning 12 medals on the second day of the competition.
Nigerian athletes won five gold, three silver and four bronze to take their medals haul to seven gold, five silver and five bronze.
Before the recent medals, the duo of Joma Oghenefejiro Praise and Oshiokpu Grace had grabbed two gold medals for Team Nigeria on the opening day of the competition (Saturday) in the U-18 and U-20 triple jump events.
Two more medals, one silver and one bronze, also came from the boys in the high jump event. The best came on Sunday when the athletes set the entire city on fire, capturing medals in all the events they participated in.
Ogazi Samuel won gold in the 400m boys’ U-18 in 46.01 seconds, just as Okwose Faith overpowered all opposition to win Nigeria’s fourth gold of the tournament in the 100m girls’ U-18 with a time of 11.57seconds.
Tima Godbless finished second in the 100m women U-20 event, while Ajayi Koyinsola also triumphed in the 100m Men U20 in 10.42secs.
In the 400m U-20 event, Nigeria’s Opeyemi Oke Deborah raced to the gold medal in 52.61 seconds, while Ewa Peace (High Jump U-18), Tiana Justina (100m Girls U-18) and Onyah Favour in the 400m Girls U18 won silver medals.
The country’s bronze were Rukewe Godsgift (Long jump Boys U-18), Ada Bright in the 400m Girls’ U-20, Kingsley Nnorji in the 100m Men’s U-20 and Rejoice Sule in the 100m Women’s U-20.
A total of 42 athletes are flying the nation’s flag at the combined fourth African U-18 Championships and the 15th African U-20 championships.
Speaking on the country’s performance, so far, in Ndola, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Tonobok Okowa, who has just been elected as one of the vice presidents of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), told The Guardian that the seven gold medals won in just two days of the competition was a clear indication that Nigerian athletes were well prepared for the battle of Ndola.
“I am confident we will win more medals on Monday (yesterday), and our target is to improve on our previous outings in the competition.
Technical Director of the AFN, Samuel Onikeku praised the athletes for their performances so far in the competition.
As at yesterday, Team Nigeria and South Africa were neck to neck in the battle to control the medals table.