Commonwealth Games Trials: Enekwechi Shatters Record

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EnekwechiThe national trials organized by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to select athletes that will fly the nation’s flag at this year’s World Athletics Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have produced a new National Record (NR) in the men’s Shot Put event at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, yesterday.

United States-based Chukwebuka Enekwechi rose to the occasion as one of the stars to watch out for at Oregon 2022 and the Commonwealth Games with a throw of 21.25meters, which shattered the old record of 21.19meters he threw at the World Athletics Championship in Doha in 2019. Enekwechi told The Guardian after his event yesterday, that he would continue to improve, just as he assured Nigerians of his readiness to get a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next month.

Homeboy, Samuel Olukorode finished second with a throw of 14.57metres. Olukorode is an athlete of St. Christy Ihunaegbo Club, a baby of a former sprinter, Canada-based Raphael Ihunaegbo.

But the event that grabbed everyone’s attention yesterday was the men’s 4x100m relay. Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and Benin Republic were included in the men’s 4x100m relays, with team Nigeria looking to improve their standing. The relay team is through to the Championships in Oregon next month after running an impressive 38.34 personal season-best at the Nigerian Athletics Championships yesterday.

The quartet of Favour Ashe, Godson Brume, Alaba Akintola and reigning World U20 champion, Udodi Onwuzurike have now moved from 17th to 16th, the final qualifying position for the relays. Nigeria has now moved above South Africa who was occupying that position before the race in Benin with the 38.51 seconds her U20 team ran at the World U20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya in August last year.
Nigerians will now be hoping the team is not overtaken before the close of the qualification window on Sunday, June 26, 2022. Team Nigeria will also be hoping they return to the podium at the World Athletics Championships 25 years after the quartet of Osmond Ezinwa, Olapade Adeniken, Francis Obikwelu and Davidson Ezinwa ran 37.94s in the semifinals before storming to a silver medal finish (38.04) behind the Donovan Bailey inspired Canada who ran a world-leading 37.86 to win the gold medal.

“As it stands, if no other country is able to run a better time before the deadline on Sunday, Nigeria has picked the ticket to the World Athletics Championship in Oregon, USA,” AFN president Tonobok Okowa told The Guardian. The 38.34seconds that ran yesterday were an improvement on their previous 38.53 seconds time.

The Women’s 4x100m relay team, made up of Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha, Tobi Amusan and Godbless Tima ran 43.24seconds to maintain their standing in the race to Oregon. The women’s team has already qualified.


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