August 03, (THEWILL) – The opportunity for a medal in shot put for Nigeria at the Tokyo Games in Japan remains on course after Chukwuebuka Enekwechi advanced to the final of the men’s event on Tuesday. Although he will have to improve on his fourth place finish to brighten his chances.
Drawn in Group B, he ranked seventh for distance covered after launching his ball over a 21.16 metre distance. But, Enekwechi endeavoured to secure a non-automatic qualifying spot for the final by climbing up to fourth.
The Nigerian shot-putter was ranked below Egypt’s Mostafa Amr, who had a throw of 21:23m. Leading the throw field was Team America athlete Ryan Crouser. He reached the final after a 22.05m throw that comfortably bested the rest of the field in qualifying.
The American, who is the defending champion in the event, holds the Olympic record of 22.52m, which he set enroute gold at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He has his eyes set on breaking the record with another chance in the final.
Mesud Pezer, the Bosnia and Herzegovina shot putter followed Crouser with a 21.33m throw. He holds the national records in shot put for Bosnia but is into the final now having been unable to reach this stage at Rio five years ago.
With a 21.25m throw, South African-born shotputter, Zane Weir, who is representing Italy at the Summer Olympics, entered the final from the Group as well, just one place above Enekwechi.
If Enekwechi, who is himself a Nigerian-American can throw farther, he will most likely add an Olympic medal to the silver he won in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and stamp his authority as reigning African shot put champion on the world stage.