World Athletics Championships: Nigeria’s Nnamdi targets gold, Ofili hits 200m semis

Chinecherem Nnamdi will be hoping to make history later on Friday when he files out for the final of the men’s javelin event at the ongoing World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

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 the 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 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 achieved 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-finals with her 22.74secs effort to win heat five of the first round.

Her time is the second fastest in qualifying, behind Namibian Beatrice Masilingi’s 22.65secs, with pre-race favourite and African record holder (outdoor) Christine Mboma also in the semis.

Mboma ran 21.81secs to win a silver medal in the 200m at the delayed Tokyo Olympics earlier 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’s 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 Jaimaca’s Briana Lyston.

Also in the 200m semis is another Nigerian, Anita Taviore, who ran 23.97secs to qualify.