Nigeria’s Chioma Onyekwere clinched a historic win in women’s discus gold medal while Jacob Kiplimo maintained Uganda’s hegemony in the 10 000m final on the opening day of track and field competition in Birmingham on Tuesday.
The 28 year old US born Nigerian became the first athlete from the West African nation to win gold in discus with a seasonal best throw of 61.70m while Obiageri Amaechi claimed bronze in 56.99m. England’s Jade Lally was sandwiched by the Nigerians in second place.
Onyekwere moved into the lead with a monster throw in the fourth round and never looked back while Amaechi sealed her bronze in the penultimate round. It’s the biggest title of her career which has also seen her win the Africa Championships title in Asaba in 2018 as well as the African Games crown in Morocco in 2019.
Tasked with defending Uganda’s honour in the 25 lap race, Kiplimo responded by winning the first track final of Birmingham 2022 in a championship record time of 27:09.19. The 21 year old Ugandan’s win continued Uganda’s proud record of the race having won every gold medal since Melbourne in 2006.
He had to work for his victory as the Kenyan trio of Daniel Ebenyo, Kibiwott Kandie and Edward Zakayo provided stiff opposition. Kiplimo and Ebenyo exchanged leads before the Ugandan youngster sped away to victory with a little over 120m left.
Despite being unable to react to Kiplimo’s finishing kick, Ebenyo set a new personal best time of 27:11.26 to win silver. Former Word Half Marathon Champion Kibiwott Kandie won bronze also in a new personal best of 27:20.34.
Africa’s 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala was the fastest man in the heats timing 10.07seconds to win heat five in the first round heats. Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme ran a new lifetime best of 10.08s to finish second and advance while Namibia Gilbert Hainuca was third in 10.31s.
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Akani Simbine eased through to the semis from heat two in 10.10s.
Nigeria will have three athletes in the semifinals after Raymond Ekevwo and Favoure Oghene Ashe also won their respective heats in 10.14s and 10.12s respectively. Godson Oke Oghenebrume made it as one of the fastest losers in heat six after timing 10.36s.
Three Nigerian women qualified for the 100m semis with Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha winning heat one in 10.99s while Rosemary Chukwuma won heat four in 11.02s. Joy Chinenye Udo Gabriel sneaked through as a fastest loser after finishing third in heat five in a seasonal best time of 11.43s.
World 800m bronze medallist Mary Moraa was in cruise control as she powered through to the semifinals after winning heat one in 1:59.22. Former World Champion Halima Nakaayi also qualified after finishing second in 1:59.35 but South Africa’s Prudence Sekogdiso missed out as she could only manage fourth place in 2:00.17.
East Africa will also representation in the semis with Kenya’s Maximilla Imali (11.30s) third in the second heat while Jacent Nyamahunge of Uganda was third in heat six in 11.53s.