By Uche Amunike
The Nigerian team at the 2022 World U-20 Athletics Championship holding in Cali, Colombia is hoping to win a medal today at her women’s 100m event, as Tima Godbless qualifies for the finals.
Nigeria’s U-20 track and field athletes set a new record in the country’s participation in the event at the last addition of the championship in Nairobi, Kenya, as they came third on the medal table with anunexpected 4 gold and 3 bronze medals. The 4 gold medals won in Nairobi still remain the highest ever, achieved by Nigeria in any edition of the championships.
Presently, the Nigerian team, which consists of 19 home-based athletes, 2 foreign-based coaches and five coaches are in Cali, Colombia representing Nigeria.
Tima Godbless of Nigeria floored her challengers, which include those from Australia and Sweden in the women’s 100m event as she came first by finishing in 11.09 seconds. Australia’s Taylah Cruttenden came second in 11.58 seconds, while Elvira Tanderud of Sweden came third in 11.69 seconds.
Both the semi-finals and final will be held today, Wednesday.
The AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku and the Secretary-General, Adeniyi Beyioku celebrated Tima Godbless yesterday as she qualified.
According to Onikeku who spoke to Newsmen at Team Nigeria’s camp in Birmingham, where the ongoing Commonwealth games is holding in England: ‘I am sure she will give Nigeria a medal in the final, though I don’t know the colour of the medal yet’.
Life and Times recalls that last year, Nigeria’s 4X400m mixed relay team commenced the unprecedented haul with its epochal championship’s record setting performance of 3:19:70 CR in Nairobi, Kenya on the first day. This was followed by the Gold medal won by the fastest U-17 Quarter- miler worldwide, Imaobong Nse Uko in the women’s 400m with a new 51.55 seconds personal best, making her the fourth woman to win the event after Fatima Yusuf in 1990, Bisi Afolabi in 1994 and Folashade Abugan in 2008.
American-based speed king, Udodi Onuzurike also set a new 20.21 seconds personal best record, when he gave Nigeria the third Gold medal in the men’s 200m which was Nigeria’s second gold since Francis Obikwelu won it in 1996 to complete his sprint double in Sydney, Australia.
It was not certain if former jumper, sprinter and AFN Head Coach, Seigha Porbeni, made it to the championship as his initial plans to travel was cancelled due to flight hitches, Sunday night. However, the coaches that are confirmed to have made it to Cali are Ayodele Solaja, Isiaka Saka Oluyemi, Rachael Oguntona and John Micah.
The 18year old Tima Godbless who was withdrawn from the Nigerian Commonwealth Games team, came tops in her first round of heat in style by breaking the record of 11.11 seconds, set by Joan Uduak Ekah for 23 years in July, 1999. She has been very consistent throughout the season in the women’s short sprints.