‘Idamadudu is good replacement for Okagbare’
NIGERIA’S team to the just concluded Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa was given a rousing welcome on arrival in Abuja, with a declaration by former national hurdler, Coach Seigha Porbeni, that some of the athletes who flew the nation’s would become great international stars in the nearest future.
Team Nigeria placed seventh on the medal’s table at the end of the Games in Samoa with six gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
Nigeria’s 200m female rising star, Praise Oghenefejiro Idamadudu, was the cynosure of all eyes at the Games, winning three gold and one bronze medal for Team Nigeria. She won the 200m gold in a time of 23.30 seconds. She is the reigning Nigerian and African junior champion in the 200m event.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Porbeni, a former Director of Sports in Delta State said that Idamadudu would be a capable replacement for Blessing Okagbare in the 200m.
In Samoa, Idamadudu who also hail from Urhobo speaking tribe in Delta State, won gold in the 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m relay. She picked a bronze in the 400m, posting a time of 53.20s, behind Jamaica’s Junelle Bromfield (53.09s) and Jisna Matthew (53.14s) of India.
Porbeni said that as a 200m runner, Idamadudu had been able to demonstrate that she is the next Blessing Okagbare on the track.
“What she need to excel in athletics is the right environment to operate. She is a great star in the making and I see her lasting even longer than Okagbare in the 200m event. My appeal to the National Sports Commission (NSC) is to give her the support she need,” he said.
Before going to the Samoa Games, Idamadudu caused a major upset in Nigerian athletics by beating a legion of foreign based stars, including US-based sprinter, Gloria Asumnu, in the 200m final during the All Nigerian Open Championship in Warri, Delta State.
Porbeni also singled out winner of the girl’s 100m gold at the Samoa Games, Omotayo Oluwaseun Abolaji, for greatness saying: “She ran a great race in Samoa and I see her ruling Africa and the World at senior level. I am also tipping our young male sprinter, Uremu Ijedsa, for greatness in the nearest future.”
At the last edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games held in China, Team Nigeria with a contingent of 12 athletes was forced to pull out due to discrimination and subsequent quarantine of the athletes due to the Ebola virus outbreak in some parts of West Africa.
This time around, Team Nigeria went to the Pacific island nation of Samoa with a contingent of 13 athletes in three events (athletics, weightlifting and boxing).
All Nigeria’s six gold medals came from athletics.