Seye Ogunlewe and Patience Okon George both completed a hat-trick of national titles at the 2017 All-Nigeria Track and Field Championship / National Trials held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja on 13-15 July.
Ogunlewe retained the tag of Nigeria’s ‘fastest’ man for the third consecutive year having emerged as winner of the men’s 100m event.
With a season’s best time of 10.30, Ogunlewe saw off the competition from another former champion Obinna Metu who posted a time 10.36 to finish second and Harry Chukwudike who posted a time of 10.44 to settle for third spot.
Ogunlewe’s winning time is not good enough to meet the qualifying standard for the World Championships in London let alone challenge for medals. The UK-based sprinter won his 2016 title with a faster 10.12 winning time.
For some, the relatively slow times that characterized this year’s National trials could be blamed on the bad shape of the tracks at the Abuja National Stadium
Speaking after his latest triumph, Ogunlewe said, “Winning for the third means a lot to me and the team behind me. I am happy that I didn’t let myself down. That said, I have my eyes on the next race. I take this as a challenge for more work! I hope to make Nigeria proud on the big stage.”
Emmanuel Arowolo won the men's 200m title in 21.16, ahead of 2015 National Champion Tega Odele, who finished 2nd with a time of 21.19. Jerry Jakpa, who is still a junior athlete, clocked a personal best of 21.21 in 3rd position.
In the women’s 400m final, Patience Okon George ran another season’s best of 51.06s as she secured are third title on the bounce.
Also, University of Port Harcourt’s Aniekeme Alphonsus stormed to victory in the women’s 100m final, which served as the major highlight on Day 1 of the National trials.
Defending champion, Blessing Okagbare was absent and Aniekeme seized the moment; winning with a time of 11.52 which is also a far cry from the qualifying standard for the same event at the World Championships in London.
In some of the events from this year’s national trials, Sodji Hamajan won his second men's 800m title in a time of 1:48.66.
Emmanuel Gyang was the winner in the men's 5000m and 10,000m races while the Men's Hammer title was won by Olawale Olatunji with a throw of 46.44m.