Ofili out, Udo-Gabriel in as women 100m begins

Favour Ofili has been ruled out of the women’s 100m event as the track and field event of the 2022 Commonwealth Games

begin Tuesday at the Alexander stadium, venue of the opening ceremony on Sunday.

Ofili, the fastest Nigerian woman over the 100m distance so far this year at 10.93 seconds has been in isolation since she arrived from the USA at the weekend after testing positive to covid and the 19 year old is yet to test negative as at Monday evening.

In her place Joy Udo-Gabriel, the 4x100m lead-off runner at the World Athletics championships in Oregon, USA last month has been drafted to compete in the 100m event alongside Grace Nwokocha and Rosemary Chukwuma.

Udo-Gabriel, a member of the bronze-winning 4x100m relay team four years ago in the Gold Coast, Australia has been in fine form since the start of the outdoor season and will be looking to set a new personal best in the event.

All eyes will however be on Nwokocha, the Nigerian 100m champion who will be seeking to become the third Nigerian woman after Mary Onyali (1994) and Blessing Okagbare (2014) to win the blue ribband title at the Games.

The 21 year old who made it to the semifinal of the event at both the Olympics and the World Championships in 2021 and 2022 respectively and has dipped inside 11 seconds this season is expected to cruise to the semifinal after the first round heats Tuesday morning.

Also expected to make the semis is Chukwuma, the second of three Nigerians to break 11 seconds in the 100m this year.

Both Nwokocha and Chukwuma will not only be seeking to return Nigeria to the podium as Commonwealth champion in the event after Okagbare who won the gold in 2014, they will also be hoping to set new lifetime best and break the 10.85 seconds Games record set by Okagbare in winning the title eight years ago.

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