Nigeria’s representatives at the World U-20 Athletics Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, have done the nation proud as Team Nigeria currently sits in third place after Day Four on the overall medals table with three gold medals and two bronze medals, only behind Kenya and Finland.
One of the biggest names on the Team Nigeria U-20 Championship list is US-based Favour Ofili. After the disappointment of facing disqualification from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Favour Ofili did herself and the country proud in the women’s 200m event as she ran a new personal best and national U-20 record of 22.23 seconds to win bronze in the event, finishing behind Namibian duo of Olympic silver medalist Christine Mboma(21.84 seconds) and Beatrice Masilingi (22.18 seconds). Mboma set a new world U-20 record in the race.
In the women’s 400m event, 17-year-old Imaobong Nse Uko, who was at the Tokyo Olympics, gave Team Nigeria a gold medal at the World U-20s as she stormed to the finish in 51.55 seconds, a new personal best for the teenager who has been signed up by American school, Baylor University. She was also part of the four-person team that won the first gold medal in the championship as team Nigeria claimed gold in the mixed 4x400m relay. She ran alongside Chidera Johnson Nnamani, Deborah Oke and Bamidele Ajayi, and they finished with a time of 3:19.70 seconds, setting a new Championship Record.
Chinecherem Nnamdi became the first Nigerian to win a medal in a field event since 2002 after he claimed bronze in the javelin event with a throw of 74.48m. The youngster was also signed up by Baylor University in the aftermath of his feat in Nairobi.
Michigan-born Udodi Onwuzuruike became the first Nigerian in 25 years to win a gold medal in the 200m event at the World U-20 championship. He stormed to a blistering finish in 20.21 seconds, setting a new national U-20 record in the process.
In other events, the quartet of Godson Brume, Adekalu Fakorede, Kingsley Unorji and Mabilo Nicholas ran a new African U-20 record of 39.33 seconds to qualify for the finals of the men’s 4x100m relay at the championship. Also, the men’s 4x400m team composed of Chidera Nnamani, Dubem Amene, Ezekiel Nathaniel and Bamidele Ajayi won their heat in a time of 3:06.70 seconds to qualify for the finals of their event. Ruth Agadama leapt to a distance of 6.06m to qualify for the finals of the women’s long jump event.
In the aftermath of the events, Minister of Sports Sunday Dare announced cash rewards for the team Nigeria athletes, with gold medalists earning $5,000, silver medalists earning $3,000, and bronze medalists earning $2,000.