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Nigerian stars win gold for Bahrain at Asian Games

Nigerian stars win gold for Bahrain at Asian Games

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Festus Abu

Nigerian-born  Bahrain sprinter Edidiong Odiong on Sunday won gold  at the 18th Asian Games women’s 100m final   at the 76,127-capacity  Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 21-year-old, who ditched Nigeria  for a lucrative deal with  the island country in 2015, dipped late to finish in 11.30secs to become Asia’s fastest woman.

India’s Dutee Chand  ran 11.32secs to pick up silver while  2014 champion China’s  Wei Yongli won bronze.

Although Odiong, who won the  400m event  at the 2013 African Youth Athletics Championships  in Warri and  represented Nigeria at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon, United States,  switched her international allegiance to Bahrain in 2015, she was cleared by the International Association of Athletics Federations to compete for her new owners  the following year.

Abbas Abubakar, Salwa Naser (Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu)  and Kemi Adekoya had earlier dumped Nigeria for cash-rich Bahrain.

Naser  won the women’s 400m gold after  finishing in 50.09secs  while India’s Hima Das arrived in 50.79secs to claim silver.

The 20-year-old, who ran  50.06secs to win silver the London  2017 World Championships, has  won four legs of the Diamond League Series  this year. She has so far won three gold for her adopted country since she started competing for them since  she had her first success at the 2014 Arab Junior Athletics Championships in Cairo.

In   men’s 100m  Nigerian-born  runner   Femi Ogunode   claimed   silver in a time of 10 secs.

China’s  Su Bingtian grabbed  gold after  clocking 9.92 secs.  Japan’s Ryota  Yamagata carted home bronze   for  his effort.

Su, who tied the Asian record created by the Nigerian-born Qatar sprinter Femi Ogunode in 2015 after running  9.91secs in  the 100m race at the Paris leg of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League in June, expressed his readiness for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I  expected I could explode in the final, but I didn’t,”  the 28-year-old  was quoted by Xinhua as telling reporters  at the mixed zone after winning Sunday’s event.

“I’m proud to win honours for my country, but I do hope for more at Tokyo Olympic Games.”

Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Kenyan-born world champion Rose Chelimo won  the women’s marathon in a sluggish time of two hours, 34 minutes and 51 secs.

“It was bad, it was too hot,” the 29-year-old told AFP. “I felt something in my throat too. The air here, you feel like it’s hard to breathe.”

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