Senegal took top honours at the 7th African Region 2 Athletics Championships which ended last night in Port Novo, Benin Republic after beating favourite and regional track and filed powerhouse Nigeria to the first position by just one gold medal.
The Senegalese won 10 gold, six silver and seven bronze medals against Nigeria’s nine gold, 10 silver and four bronze medals.
Nigeria’s greatest undoing was her inability to assert authority on her perceived strong areas-the sprints. In fact Nigeria won only one only one out of the six gold medals on offer in both the short and the longer sprints.
In the men’s 100m, Onyeabor Nwaogu emerged the fastest man of the championships when he raced to a 10.44 seconds finish ahead of Kaduna 2009 National Sports Festival winner, Oghoghene Egwero of Delta state who ran 10.57 to win the silver with Cote D’Ivoire’s Koffi Hua Wilfried settling for the bronze in 11.05.
In the women’s 100 metres, Mali’s 200m specialist, Kadiatou Camara ran away with the gold medal with her 11.87 run. Nigeria's Amaka Josephine settled for silver (11.97) and Ghana’s Gifty Addy was third (12.03).
Nigeria also failed to win the gold in both the men and women’s 400m. In the men,the duo of Victor Isiah and National Sports Festival winner, Abiola Onakoya came second and third respectively.
Nigeria National champion from KADA 2009, Mariam Adedun settled for the second position in the women's 400m.
Mali’s Kadiatou Camara took a dominant victory in the women’s 200 metres after beating the Nigerian girls by a mile, But Nigeria bounced back in the men and women’s high jump, 110m hurdles, women’s triple jump, 1500m and javelin.
Obiora Arinze cleared a pedestrian 2.02 metres to win the gold in the men’s high jump while reigning All Africa Games champion, Doreen Amata won the women’s event with a comfortable height of 1.79m.
Nkiruka Domike won the triple jump in 13.03 metres, which she achieved on her first attempt but it was good enough for the gold while Sorochukwu Ihuefo expectedly won the women's Javelin event.
In the 110 metres hurdles, Samuel Okon won gold for Nigeria with a 14.32 seconds finish after his female counterpart, Joy Digha had failed in the women’s 100 metres hurdles race riddled with numerous false starts.
In the men’s 4x400m relay event, the Nigerian team anchored by Onyeabor Nwaogu was also disqualified for two false starts while the women team missed out on the medals in a race they were overwhelming favourite to win.
In the 4x400 metres relay held, Nigeria managed to win one of the two gold medals on offer courtesy the the men’s team to bring to nine the total number of gold won by Nigeria in the three-day championships.