Nigeria’s track and field athletes to the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland began their quests for medals yesterday on a bright note with star performances from Blessing Okagbare and Mark Jelks.
Okagbare who will run in today’s semi final and final of the 100m Hampden Park track won her Heat 5 in 11.20seconds while Gloria Asumnu was second behind Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown in 11.43.
The US-based Mark Jelks who dethroned Ogho-Oghene Egwero to emerge Nigeria’s fastest man at the Commonwealth Games Trials in Calabar last month posted 10.28 to win Heat 8 ahead of Warren Fraser of Bahamas and Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago.
Egwero made the cut as the second placed sprinter behind South African Akani Simbine from Heat 6.
Another US-based athlete, Mozavous Edwards also qualified for the semi final of the 100m with 10.4 in Heat 6.
England’s Adam Gemili recorded the fastest time in the men’s 100m heats to qualify for the semi-finals.
The 20-year-old won his race by a distance in 10.15 seconds, 0.10secs slower than his personal best.
He is joined in the semis by compatriots Richard Kilty, who had a dead heat for second in his race, and fastest loser Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
In the women’s 400m, Regina George (53.92), Omolara Omotosho (53.00) and Folasade Abugan (52.84) all made it into today’s semi finals slated for this evening.
Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku took a flamboyant 5000m gold while compatriot Flomena Daniel claimed the women’s marathon title.
Ndiku, the world indoor 3000m champion, made the most of the absence of injury-hit Olympic champion Mo Farah to win the first gold medal on offer.
With his hair dyed gold in expectation of victory, Ndiku triumphed in 13min 12.07sec over the 5km race with teammate Isiah Koech claiming silver in 13:14.06, with New Zealander Zane Robertson claiming bronze (13:16.52).
In the women’s marathon, Daniel, the winner in Paris this year, led teammate Caroline Kilel to a convincing Kenyan one-two with Jess Trengrove grabbing an unexpected bronze for Australia.
Australian Michael Shelley prevented a Kenyan marathon sweep by producing a stunning final 8km to win gold with Kenya’s Stephen Chemlany in second and Uganda’s Abraham Kiplimo taking bronze.