Nigerian sprint champion, Favour Oghene Tejiri Ashe, will lead two of his compatriots, Raymond Ekewvo and Godson Brume, in the search for medals as the semifinal and final of 100 metres of the 2022 Commonwealth Games hold today.
Nicknamed ‘Bolt Ashe’ by his fans, the Nigerian won his 100m heat yesterday, clocking 10.12 seconds in Round 1 Heat 2 to advance to the semifinals.
The 20-year-old finished ahead of England’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, who clocked 10.14 seconds to finish second. Nadale Buntin of St. Kitts and Nevis ran a Personal Best of 10.37s to finish third, but it was not enough to qualify him for the semifinals.
Two months ago in Benin City, Edo State, Ashe won the national 100m title to qualify for the recently concluded Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States. The National Trials held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium saw the sprint sensation overpowering a stacked field including Alaba Akintola and multiple national champion, Seye Ogunlewe, to win with a new Personal Best time of 9.99 seconds.
His victory in Benin City was the first legal sub-10 time for the University of Tennessee freshman after running a wind-aided 9.79seconds on the American Collegiate circuit.
At yesterday’s 100m heat in Birmingham, Ashe started well from the block and maintained his stride to give Nigerians the hope that he could produce a podium performance today.
Ekevwo also won his heat, yesterday, to secure his semifinal ticket. On his part, Godson Brume was lucky to scale through from the heat, after escaping the marching order for a false start. He ran 10.36seconds to finish third in his heat, but scaled through to the semifinal as one of the best losers.
Brume will begin today’s event in semifinal 1 at 7.00pm, while Ashe is in semifinal 2, just as Ekevwo will compete in semifinal 3. The final of the men’s 100 metres will hold later this evening.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games debutant, Anabel Orobosa, has qualified for the final of Women’s Shot Put event. She finished fifth in Group B of the qualification rounds, yesterday, with a throw of 16.27metres to put Team Nigeria in the medal zone.