- Liadi wins silver, sprinters shine as athletics begin
Team Nigeria has dropped to 11th on medals table at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England as Day 5 (yesterday) featured winnings and losses.
As it had been in the last few days, when the country relied on weightlifters to win medals, another lifter, Taiwo Liadi, won the team’s first silver and their fifth medal – two gold, one silver and two bronze medals – at the event, as the team dropped from ninth to the 11th position on the medals table.
Liadi, who competed in the women’s 76kg weightlifting event, finished second behind Canada’s Maya Laylor, who set a new Commonwealth Games record with a lift of 128kg.
Team Nigeria’s hope of more medals brightened on Tuesday as the athletics event resumed, with the country’s fastest runner Favour Ashe, Grace Nwokocha and five others advancing in the 100m Round 1 event.
Ashe finished first in Round 1, Heat 1 of the men’s 100m in 10.12secs, above England’s Nethaneel Blake (10.14secs) and St Kitts and Nevis’ Nadale Buntin (10.37secs).
Ashe’s time would prove to be the best of all Nigerian sprinters on the day, as Raymond Ekevwo, who came closest, recorded 10.14secs to narrowly edge out Jamaica’s Kemar Cole (10.15secs) to second place in Heat 4.
In Heat 6, Godson Oghenebrume finished third in 10.36secs, behind Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon (10.06secs), the only runner to beat Ashe’s time, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kion Benjamin (10.34secs).
Nwokocha finished first in Round 1, Heat 1 of the women’s 100m with a time of 10.99secs, above New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs (11.09secs) and England’s Asha Philip (11.27secs).
Rosemary Chukwuma also finished first in Heat 4 at 11.02secs, above Botswana’s Oarabile Tshosa (11.40secs) and Guyana’s Jasmine Abrams (11.41secs).
In Heat 5, Joy Udo-Gabriel produced her season’s best of 11.43secs to finish third behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.14secs) and The Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither (11.19secs).
It was still all smiles for Team Nigeria after Orobosa Frank finished fifth with a throw of 16.27m in Group B of the Women’s Shot Put qualifying round.
Despite finishing fifth, her throw of 16.27m was enough to earn her qualification for the next round.
Also, Paralympian Suwaibidu Galadima finished third in the Men’s T45-47 100m in Round 1, Heat 2, hitting a Personal Best of 11.45secs behind England’s Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker (11.19secs) and Ola Abidohun (11.31secs).
In the 400m hurdles, Nigeria finished second with Ezekiel Nathaniel hitting a time of 50.38secs above Canada’s Malik Metivier (51.54secs) and behind Kenya’s Wiseman Mukhobe (50.0secs).
Meanwhile, it wasn’t all rosy for Team Nigeria as Quadri Aruna and his teammates lost the bronze to hosts England in the men’s table tennis Team Event.
Nigeria lost 3-0 to England in the third-place clash, after they crashed out in the semis on Monday to India, to miss out on the bronze medal.
In the men’s doubles, duo Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo lost 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 to Tom Jarvis and Paul Drinkhall while Quadri Aruna lost 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 to Liam Pitchford in the men’s single.
Team Nigeria’s hope of mounting a comeback proved abortive after Omotayo lost 11-4, 11-2, 11-4 to Drinkhall in their singles clash.
The defeat means the players’ pursuit of a Commonwealth Games medal will be put on hold until action resume in the single, double, and mixed double events.
Also, things didn’t get better for Abdul-Afeez Osoba, who lost in the men’s boxing Light-Middleweight category to Wales’ Garan Croft.
The Nigerian failed to build on his knockout win in the round of 32, losing on points in the round of 16 after all five judges awarded higher points to the Welshman with a score of 30-27 from four judges and 29-28 from one judge.
But Osoba’s countrywoman Jacinta Umunnakwe had a walkover decision in her favour in the Women’s Middleweight quarter-final against Tonga’s Mele Ula in their fight slated for August 3.
Umunnakwe will meet the victor of the quarter-final clash between Canada’s Tammara Thibeault and Cayman Islands’ Hepseba Angel, who clash on Wednesday (today).
Another boxer Elizabeth Oshoba also qualified for the quarter-finals of the women’s Featherweight division, beating New Zealand’s Erin Walsh by a 5-0 decision from the judges.
In Judo, Cecilia James fought three times, defeating Zambia’s Taonga Soko in the women’s 63kg round of 16.
James then fell to Australia’s Katharina Haecker after a hard-fought match-up resulted in a 3-2 loss in the Golden Score round of the quarter-final.
James got another chance to contest for a place in the final through Repechage, but she lost to Wales’ Jasmine Hacker-Jones by an Ippon (full point) decision.
Joy Asonye also lost in the quarter-final of the women’s 70kg to Australia’s Aoife Coughlan but won in her Repechage match, defeating Fiji’s Shanice Takayawa to earn her a place in the bronze finals, which she lost to England’s Kelly Petersen-Pollard.
In the men’s 81kg round of 16, Fatai Muritala lost to England’s Lachlan Moorhead.
At the end of Day 5, Australia lead the medals chart with a total of 86 medals – 34 gold, 24 silver and 28 bronze, while England are second with 27 gold, 28 silver and 17 bronze with a total of 72 medals.
New Zealand are third with 24 medals – 13 gold, seven silver, and five bronze, while Canada and South Africa complete the top five.