Reigning African Games 100m champion, Raymond Ekevwo, has raced to the final of the 100m event of the ongoing 22nd African Athletics Championship in Mauritius. The Delta-born athlete is looking forward to end Nigeria’s 12 year wait for the blue ribband gold when he file out against other contestants in the final taking place on Thursday (today).
Ekevwo did not achieved the qualification on a platter of gold as he could only finish third in the third semifinal heat, thereby missing one of the two automatic slots for the final. The 23-year-old’s 10.15secs run was however among the three fastest times achieved by those who missed the automatic qualification slots. Kenya’s reigning African record holder, Ferdinand Omanyala, who recovered from an injury he copped last week in the international athletics circuit led the way once again with his 10.07secs performance with defending champion, South Africa’s Akani Simbine, the second fastest qualifier for Thursday’s final. Ekevwo will now need to run faster than the 9.96secs he ran three years ago that fetched him the African Games gold to stand a chance of making the podium.
The two other Nigerians did not make it to the final. Nichilas Mabilo failed to get past the first round heat while Seye Ogunlewe exited at the semifinal stage, finishing fourth (10.29secs) in the first semifinal heat. In the women’s 100m race, Tima Godbless, ran huge Personal Best to make women’s 100m final. “That girl is super talented and can run 10.88secs with proper training,” said former Athletic Federation of Nigeria technical director, Rotimi Obajimi, last year at the Tokyo Olympic Trials in Lagos.