August 01, (THEWILL) – After the mishaps that have befallen Team Nigeria’s medal hopefuls in the ongoing Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan conjoined with the early exits of teams backed by high expectations like D’Tigers, it was a relief to see Nigeria’s female long jumper Ese Brume leap her way into the final of the event.
Brume’s 6.76m jump gave her a fourth position finish in the semi-finals which was enough to enter her into the finals. Ahead of her, current world indoor champion, Ivana Spanovic of Serbia, finished first in Group B with a 7.00m jump.
German reigning world long jump champion Malaika Mihambo followed with a 6.98m leap while a 6.82m jump gave British Virgin Islands’ Chantel Malone a third place finish to complete the field of finalists that will contest for the podium in the final.
America’s Quanesha Burks and Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova of Belarus could only manage 6.56m and 6.55m respectively, finishing behind Brume and unable to make the cut, dropping out of contention completely.
As Nigeria’s bronze-winner at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Brume retains her position as a strong medal prospect for Team Nigeria especially after the series of unfortunate events that have marked Nigeria’s participation in the XXXII Olympic Games.
As if the early exits from the male and female tennis events, the ineligibility of 10 track and field athletes, the doping charge on Blessing Okagbare and the knockout of the men’s basketball team were not bad enough, the brightest medal hopeful of the male sprint events, Divine Oduduru was removed from contesting the 100m qualifiers.
Oduduru, who holds a personal best record of 9.86 seconds for the 100m and the Nigerian national record of 19.73 seconds for the 200m, a distance for which he is the sole male athlete for the country in Tokyo, was disqualified from the 100m men’s event for a false start.
All eyes will now be on Enoch Adegoke, who blitzed ahead of one of the fastest man in the world this year and seventh fastest of all-time, United States Trayvon Brommel in under 10 seconds, in the second heat to book his semi-final slot for the 100m. Also, hope lies in Adegoke’s compatriot, Usheoritse Itsekiri, who finished 3rd to also qualify.
The stakes are as high as they can be for Brume, however, because the 25-year-old is now in the final. As THEWILL reported, her 7.17m jump at the Chula Vista Festival in May, broke the 25-year African long jump record of 7.12m set by Nigeria’s Olympic amazon Chioma Ajunwa at the Games in Atlanta 1996.
Brume was the only Nigerian to reach the final of her event at Rio 2016, where her 6.81m jump earned her a fifth-place finish. She will be looking to finish better than that this time to reach her Olympic dream and help put Team Nigeria on the medal table just as her compatriots are attempting too.