Chinecherem Nnamdi will be hoping to make history later today when he files out for the final of the men’s javelin event at the ongoing World Athletics U20 Championships.
The 19-year-old is one of the favourites to win the event’s gold after throwing himself into contention on the opening day of the championships with a massive 78.02m personal best to qualify for today’s final.
Nnamdi’s throw was the farthest by any athlete in the competition and the Nigerian will fancy his chances of becoming the first Nigerian man (or woman) to win a medal in the event at the championships.
Standing between him and a historic gold medal are a Ukrainian and a Finish. Artur Felfner of Ukraine threw 77.15m to qualify for the final, although he came to the championships with a personal best of 78.41m which he threw last month. Finish athlete Janne Laspa also hit the 77m mark (77.10 personal best) in qualifying for the final and poses a real threat to Nnamdi.
Meanwhile, Favour Ofili zoomed into the women’s semi-final with her 22.74 seconds effort to win heat five of the first round. The time she returned is the second-fastest qualifying time behind Namibian Beatrice Masilingi’s 22.65 seconds, while pre-race favourite and African record holder (outdoor) Christine Mboma will also be in the semi-finals.
Mboma ran 21.81 seconds to win a silver medal in the 200m at the Tokyo Olympics early this month and she is clearly the athlete to beat in the event albeit she ran outside 22 seconds (23.23s) to qualify for today semi-finals.
Ofili, the African indoor record holder in the event, has been drawn in lane three of the third semi-final heat and should make the final to battle it out with the Namibians and Jamaica’s Briana Lyston.
Also into the 200m semi-final is another Nigerian, Anita Taviore, who ran 23.97 to qualify.