Okezie wins Nigeria’s first African Games 400m gold in 37 years

Esther Joseph picks silver medal behind Mary Moraa in women's race

Chidi Okezie made history Wednesday in Accra when he stormed home first in 45.06 to become the first Nigerian man in 37 years to win the 400m gold at the African Games.

Prior to Wednesday’s race at the University of Ghana sports ground, the first and only Nigerian man to climb the podium in the event as African Games champion was Innocent Egbunike who ran a 44.23 games record to win the gold. Since, Nigeria has not moved beyond the four silver medals the trio of Sunday Bada, Clement Chukwu and Tobi Ogunmola won until Okezie came to rewrite history and he did it running a 45.06 lifetime best.

Okezie has now won two medals in the event in two editions after winning a bronze medal five years ago at the 12th edition of the games.

In the women’s 400m final, surprise package, Esther Joseph ran yet another lifetime best, stopping the clock at 51.61 but it was not enough to stop Mary Moraa from becoming the first Kenyan woman in African Games history to win the 400m gold. Meanwhile, there will be no Nigerian man in the 400m hurdles final line up after Nathaniel Samson failed to advance. He ran 51.59 to place fourth in his semifinal heat to crash out of reckoning.

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