Nigeria’s woes continued at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, as promising shot put ace, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi and the country’s female 4x100m relay quartet fell short of medals spots, megasportsarena.com reports.
Enekwechi raised hopes for at least a bronze medal for Nigeria when he reached the shot put final, but that ray of hope came crashing down in dismal fashion, as the USA-born lad could only finish 12th in the contest.
In what turned out to be an anti-climax for him in the final on Thursday, Enekwechi’s throw of 19.74m was not good enough for a podium finish.
The Commonwealth Games silver medalist and African champion earlier fouled in his opening throw, then threw 18.87m on his second attempt and his last throw could not take him into the last round.
Gold went to Ryan Crouser of United States, silver was won by Joe Kovacs also of the USA, while the bronze medal was clinched by Tom Walsh of New Zealand, but Nigeria’s woes continued soon after, as the female 100m relay team went crashing out as well.
The quartet Tobi Amusan, Grace Nwokocha, Patience Okon-George and Ese Brume, who had been hastily arranged after several of the proposed competitors were earlier disqualified from the Games, finished sixth in heat two with a time of 43.25 seconds.
The race was won by Germany in a time of 42.00, Switzerland finished second on 42.05 and China in third with 42.82, thereby qualifying for the final on Friday, alongside Netherlands, France, Great Britain, United States and Jamaica.
Team Nigeria, who now look unlikely to pick up any other medal, lie in joint-68th position on the medal table, alongside Bulgaria and San Marino, while China lead the log with 32 gold, 23 silver and 16 bronze.
United States are second with 27 gold, 33 silver and 24 bronze, in third position is Japan with 27 gold, seven silver and 13 bronze , while Ghana men’s 4x100m relay team finish ahead of the USA to clinch a place in Friday’s final.
The Ghanaian quartet of Sean Safo-Antwi, Benjamin Azamati-Kwaku, Emmanuel Kwaku and Joseph Paul Amoah finished ahead of the USA and set a new national record of 38.08s to qualify for Friday’s final as one of the fastest losers.
However, it was disappointment for South Africa’s quartet of Clarence Munyai, Shaun Maswanganyi, Chedrick van Wyk and Akani Simbine, as they failed to pass the baton on the very first exchange, while their compatriot, Wayne Snyman was 20th of the 52 finishers in the men’s 20km walk as he ended up 3 minutes 28 seconds behind Italian winner Massimo Stano.
Snyman was the only African in the event after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a four-year doping ban for his compatriot and former African champion Lebogang Shange just before the start of the Tokyo Games.
The 29-year-old recorded a positive test for the anabolic steroid trenbolone in 2019 and was banned from competing for four years, while Hugues Fabrice Zango won Burkina Faso’s first ever Olympic medal as he claimed bronze in the men’s triple jump on day 13 of the Tokyo Olympics.
The 28-year-old’s leap of 17.47 metres was 35cm short of his African outdoor record, which he set earlier this year, but was enough to claim third place just ahead of two-time Olympic silver-medalist, Will Claye of the USA.
Portugal’s Cuban-born Pedro Pichardo won the gold with a new national record of 17.98m and China’s Yaming Zhu took silver with a personal best of 17.57m, while Egypt lost 27-23 to France in the men’s handball semi-finals and will now play in the bronze-medal match on Saturday.
Algeria’s Mohamed Yasser Triki set a new national record of 17.43m for his fifth place in the men’s triple jump final, while Kyle Blignaut of South Africa was the continent’s best finisher in the men’s shot put final with a throw of 21.00m, but it was just enough for sixth place.
Egypt’s Mostafa Amr Hassan was eighth and Nigeria’s Enekwechi, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver medalist, 2019 African Games winner and reigning National Sports Festival champion, was last in the final.
Egypt’s men’s handball team will have to settle for a bronze-medal play-off match on Saturday after they lost their semi-final 27-23 to the Rio silver medalists France, who are the biggest of all successful handball nations, having won the world championships six times and are two-time Olympic champions.
The Egyptians, who are the first African team to reach an Olympic semi-final, will face the losers of the other semi-final between Spain and Denmark in the play-off.