Nigerian gold medalists (LtoR) Blessing Okagbare, Joy Udo-Gabriel, Rosemary Chukwuma and Tobi Amusan, celebrate after winning the women’s 4x100m relay during the 21st African Senior Athletics Championship at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State in midwestern Nigeria on August 3, 2018. The five-day biennial African Senior Athletics Championship has got underway at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State in midwestern Nigerian. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
True to her pre-championship boast, Africa and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the women’s long jump, Ese Brume yesterday grabbed a gold medal to increase the nation’s chances of finishing tops at the on-going African Senior Athletics Championship, Asaba 2018.
Home-girl, Brume, who holds a personal best of 6.84 meters, jumped 6.83m to pick the gold medal yesterday afternoon at the Stephen Keshi Stadium. She became the third gold medallist for Team Nigeria at the Championship.
The Cyprus-based Brume, a former African junior record holder in the long jump, announced her senior appearance with a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
An excited Brume told The Guardian yesterday that she would always give her best whenever the country calls on her. “I am a Nigerian and I am proud to represent my country here in Asaba. I am happy to win a gold medal on home soil,” she said.
Brume was left out by AFN officials at the last Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, which cost her the opportunity of defending the title she won at Glasgow 2014.
Also yesterday’s evening, Blessing Okagbare led the Nigerian 4x100m women team to win the gold medal in a time of 43.77seconds, beating Cote d’Ivoire to the second position. Joy Gabriel-Udo started a good race and handed over the baton to Okagbare, who also did well. Tobi Amusan then picked it up and handed over to Rosemary Chukwuma to anchor. The men’s 4x100m relay team could only settle for silver behind South Africa.
Another gold medal came Team Nigeria’s way in the women’s Discuss Throw, where Onyekwere Chidimma threw 58.09 meters, while another Nigerian, Okoro Chinwe grabbed the silver medal with a throw of 57.37meters.
Ajayi Yinka’s effort in the women’s 400m final fetched Nigeria a bronze medal yesterday. She ran 51.34 seconds in the race won by Caster Semenya in 49.96 seconds.
Christine Botlogetwe of Botswana was second in 51. 19 seconds. Nigeria’s second athlete in the event, Patience George was fifth in 52.34 seconds.
In the 400m male final, Okezie Chidi also picked a bronze medal in a time of 45.65 sec.
Meanwhile, the media department of the Asaba 2018 LOC yesterday said it has noted the report on some news platforms about a falling fence near the swimming pool area at the Stephen Keshi Stadium and described the report as sensational.
In a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity for the CAA Asaba 2018, Olukayode Thomas, the LOC faulted the way the incidence was reported to give a wrong perception of what actually happened.
“The area in question is far away from the stadium where the championship is taking place. It is also still under construction; hence no one has passed it fit for use. None of this was put in context but the reporter only chose to take the shine off the good work the Delta State government is doing and the excitement the African athletes are having in Asaba since the championship kicked off on Wednesday.”
Thomas also explained that the affected cars were all outside the stadium contrary to how the report was projected.
“I am available for anyone to ask questions and seek clarity on issues. I cannot stop anybody from doing his job, but it is only proper for journalists to be factual and be balanced in their reporting.”
Already, the IAAF President, Sebastian Coe and his counterparts in the Confederation of African Athletics, Hammad Kalkaba has given commendations to the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa for providing a legacy in Delta state with the Stephen Keshi Stadium and other facilities put in place for the African Championships.