Daily Trust (Abuja)

May 19, 2003
Posted to the web May 19, 2003

American Joshua Johnson posted the best time this year in the men 200m in a time of 20.09 seconds at the Abuja International Athletics Meet.

Joshua dusted African King, Aziz Zakari, Kenneth Brokenbourg and World Cup champion, Uchenna Emedolu, to confirm his high rating.

The American had won the 100m with the time of 10.05 seconds ahead of Zakari and Brokenbourg, who posted 10.07 seconds and 10.11 seconds respectively in the race. Uchenna failed to impress. The Nigerian led the pack from the wrong end in a time of 10.78 seconds.

The men 100m field had drawn profound interest from the athletics enthusiasts that had converged to watch them.

In the race, homeboys, Olusoji Fasuba, Chinedu Oriala and Tamunosiki Atorudibo had to contend with the forays of the big boys, which included Eric Nkansah, Brokenbourg, Zakari and Johnson.

Though Johnson won, he was full of praises for the other sprinters and was particularly glad that he came to race in Abuja.

"I am happy I came. I have been impressed by the quality of competition; the track is superb, the stadium breath taking and the beautiful city of Abuja is the place to be.

I am surprised so many negative things are said about Nigeria. But I’ve not seen anything to dissuade my interest in the city.

I should think that most of my colleagues, who refused to come to Abuja because of these negative things will regret not doing so."

Similarly, ageless Mary Onyali-Omagbemi reasserted her supremacy over the growing field of contestants for her crown.

Though Mary did not run in the women 100m, she participated in and won in grand style in the 200m.

Mary conquered Mercy Nku, Uduak Ekah, Falilat Ogunkoya-Osheku, Doris Jacob, Pauline Ibeagha, Damola Osayomi and Alimat Ismail.

Contrary to expectation, Mary in flight flew over Nku and Falilat and Ekah in a race she clearly re-enacted her golden self.

Onyali was to say that she was delighted to have featured in the Abuja meet, which has rekindled her desire to clinch both the 100m and 200m gold in October at the Games proper.