Home-based athlete shatters record, as AAG trials end today in Warri



Asumnu is 100m champion 

The 2015 All Nigeria Open Athletics Championship started yesterday in Warri, Delta State, with home-based female athlete, Faustina Oguh, shattering a national record in the 20k walk event.

Also yesterday, US-based sprinter, Gloria Asumnu, emerged champion in the women’s 100m race with a time of 11.42 seconds. She won the race in the absence of former title holder, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who wrote to the AFN yesterday requesting to be excused from the championship.

The 20k Walk event, being solely financed by the Technical Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, has made giant strides since it was introduced into the federation’s programme a few years ago. At the last African Youth Championship in Mauritius, a Nigerian, Fadekemi Olude, got a silver medal for Team Nigeria in the 20k Walk.

Olude was second behind Oguh in yesterday’s event at the Warri City Stadium. Oguh completed the 20k Walk race yesterday in 1hr 45 minutes to erase the old national record of 1hr 55minutes. In the women’s 100m race final yesterday evening, another US-based athlete, Stephanie Kalu, finished second in 11.47 seconds, pushing home-based star, Deborah Odeyemi (11.66 sec) to the third position.

AFN Technical Director, Nesiama, was excited, especially over the new national record set by Oguh in the 20k Walk race. He described the championship as a ‘huge success.’ The two-day championship will serve as selection of track and field athletes for the 2015 IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China and the All Africa Games holding in Congo Brazzaville next month.

The championship was moved from the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, to Warri, following Cross River State government’s failure to release fund to the organisers, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

The AFN has a five-year partnership with Cross River State, which took over the sponsorship when the federation terminated its deal with the original sponsor, Mobil, due to ‘poor’ funding.

However, after sponsoring four editions of the championship, Cross River State government decided to withdraw, forcing the Solomon Ogba-led AFN to beg Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, to save the competition. Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Ogba said he was happy with the turn out of athletes, just as he praised Delta State government for accepting to host the championship, even on a short notice.

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