Nigeria’s finest athletes begin battles for C’Wealth places

Sprinter Favour Ofili, 400m barrier runner Nathaniel Ezekiel and Javelin thrower, Nnamdi Prosper will lead five other reigning Nigeria record holders to Benin for the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championship trials which start next week.

Ofili has been in inspiring form this year, setting new national records in the 200m indoors (22.46secs) and outdoor (21.96secs).

The 19-year-old, silver medalist in the 200m event at the 2022 NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, is also the fastest Nigerian woman this year and will be one of the stars to watch when the championships begin.

Also set for action is Nathaniel, the Baylor University freshman, who has improved from a 51secs runner over the 400m hurdles as at this period last year to 49.89secs two months later at the World U20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi.

This year, the 18-year-old has attained world-class status after running 48.42secs last month to break Henry Amike’s 35-year 48.50secs Nigerian record, as well as set an African U20 record.

Nnamdi will also be in town as the reigning national record holder in the javelin event.

The 19-year-old added 14cm (81.22m) to the 81.08m national record set by Pius Bazighe in 2019 and will be looking forward to defending the national title he won last year as well as confirm his place on the flight to Oregon for the World Athletics Championships.

Long jumper Ese Brume, who was expected to have jetted in Thursday with her coach Kayode Yaya aboard Qatar Airways, is also coming in for the second time as the Nigerian and African record holder in the event, following her 7.17m leap May last year in California.

Sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan is expected to arrive Nigeria this weekend and the 24-year-old will be wearing two caps like Brume – she is the reigning Nigerian and African record holder (12.42secs) in the 100m hurdles.

Shot putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, the reigning African Games and African Championships champion, is not just the defending Nigerian title in the event, but is also the record holder (21.80m).

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