Nigeria and Africa’s Shot Put champion Chukwuebuka Enekwechi will hoping for a miracle of sort to turn silver to gold when he confronts New Zealand’s Tom Walsh again for the title of 2022 Commonwealth Games champion.
Four years ago, the Nigerian and the New Zealander battled for the gold medal at the Gold Coast, Australia but it was Walsh, the 2017 World champion and two-time Olympic bronze medalist who prevailed.
This time, the battle ground has shifted from Down Under to Europe and the Alexander stadium in Birmingham is expected to witness the best of Shot Put action when the event’s final gets underway on Friday.
Walsh is the top ranked athlete in Friday’s line up and the only one who has hit the 22m mark (22.31m) this season with Chukwuebuka ranked third best with the 21.25m he threw to retain his Nigerian title in June.
Another New Zealander, Jacko Gill is ranked second with 21.58.
Jamaica’s O’dayne Richards, the 2014 champion is also in the mix for a podium appearance and will be seeking to reclaim the title from Walsh whom he defeated to win eight years ago in Scotland.
Enekwechi will have to set a new personal season’s best to be guaranteed a successive return to the podium.
In the women’s triple jump, Ruth Usoro will have to scale the Jamaican and Dominican Republic hurdles in front of her to win a Commonwealth Games medal on her debut at the Games.
The 24 year old Nigerian record holder (14.50m) holds a 14.11m personal season’s best but that may not be enough to take the gold from the grip of treble-seeking defending champion, Kimberly Williams of Jamaica or her compatriot, Shanieka Ricketts who picked the silver medal at the World Championships last month in Oregon, USA and four years ago at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
Dominican Republic’s Thea Lafond, bronze medal winner four years ago will also be seeking a return to the podium for the second time in three attempts.