By Kayode Adebiyi and Abolade Ogundimu
Abuja – Bamidele Emmanuel and Patience Okon on Friday emerged winners in the 400m men and women categories respectively at the National/Commonwealth Games Trials in Abuja.
While Emmanuel won with a personal best of 45.28 seconds, Okon completed the race in 51.40 seconds.
Emmanuel later told newsmen he would strive to improve on his time before the Commonwealth Games, expressing optimism that Team Nigeria would win medals in the event at Gold Coast.
“My target for the year is to do anything below 45 secs, maybe 44 sub. I believe I can even do better before the Commonwealth Games.
“I believe in myself and I have confidence. What was on my mind before the tournament was to have a decent time I can build upon,” he said.
Emmanuel, who is of Team Customs, however solicited for government’s support to ensure a productive outing in April at the Games.
“We need encouragement to do well. Often, they just call us for tournaments and forget about us after. We need better facilities and preparations before any major tournament.”
Okon, whose personal best was 50.78 secs, believes that with hard work she would make the country proud at the Games.
“My expectation is for me to work hard and make it to that Commonwealth podium. That is my target.
“I believe that everything will be fine before and during the Commonwealth Games. It is just for them to put one or two things together to make things better.”
Orukpe Erayokan, also of Team Customs, finished second in the men’s category at 46.40 secs, while Isah Salihu came third with a time of 46.56 secs.
In the women’s category, Ajayi Yinka was second 52.49 seconds, while Praise Idamadudu was third with 52.92 seconds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the trials, which ended on Friday, is part of preparations by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. (NAN)