As team returns from Ndola Zambia with top Championships record setters Okwose, Ugo and Ogazi
By Rasheed Adewuyi
Nigeria athletics contingent to the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Under 18 and 20 Championships in Ndola, Zambia, are back to the shores of Nigeria.
On hand to receive the youngsters at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos, was the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, and some top officials of his ministry and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
It was a moment of joy, ecstasy and jubilation as the nation’s Junior Athletics team touched down in Lagos.
Team Nigeria finished second position, behind South Africa, at the 2023 African Under 18 and 20 Athletics Championships, winning 17 Gold, 10 Silver and 9 Bronze medals, in Ndola.
The U18 team’s performance was headlined by the Championships record set by sprinter Faith Okwose, triple jumper, Precious Ugo Irivi and 400m runner, Samuel Uchenna Ogazi.
Okwose, double sprint silver medalist at the National Sports Festival last year in Asaba, Delta state ran 11.53 and 23.31 in the 100m and 200m respectively to successfully complete a sprint double at the Championships.
Irivi set a new 15.70m Championships record in the girls triple jump event while Ogazi ran 46.01 to also set a new competition record as he also successfully completed a 200m/400m double.
The U-18 came second on the medal table behind South Africa with 19 medals comprising eight gold, eight silver and three bronze medals.
For the U-20 team, World U20 finalist and reigning Nigeria U20 record holder (11.09), Tima Godbless was the star of the championships.
The 2022 National Sports Festival 100m and 200m champion replicated the feat in Ndola as she also successfully complete the sprint double.
Horizontal jumper, Grace Oshiokpu also completed a rare long jump/triple jump double at the championships.
The Nigerian U-20 team also came second behind South Africa in the medal table with 15 medals comprising nine gold, two silver and four bronze medals
The performance is a huge improvement on the team’s performance in 2019 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast where they won 13 gold, 6 silver and 13bronze medals