Grace Anigbata, the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships 4x100m silver medalist, Enoch Adegoke, the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, para-athletics coach Feyisetan Are, and others were among the lauded winners at the second Athletic Heat Awards, which were recently held in Lagos.
At the awards presentation, which was held at the Ultima Studio in Lekki, Lagos, Anigbata, a triple jump specialist and unexpected winner at the African Championships hosted in Asaba, Delta State in June 2018, was named the Breakout Athlete of the Year.
The Athletic Heat Junior male athlete of the year award went to Adegoke. He had a strong start to the 2018 campaign by winning the Commonwealth Games trials with a time that was then a personal best of 10.30s. Later, he improved his display at the Commonwealth Games in Australia running a scorching 10.19s which is one of the fastest times by a Nigerian this season as only Divine Oduduru ran faster. He has equaled the times of both Seye Ogunlewe and Egwero Ogho-Oghene.
Enoch competed and took home silver in the 4x100m final at the AAC. In November 2018, he won the 100-meter gold and 200-meter silver at the West African University Games (WAUG).
Galadima Suwaibidu, who won the 100m T46 event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, received the para-athlete male award. He finished the 100-meter race in 11.16 seconds after beating a strong field.
The Para-Coach of the Year title went to Coach Aare. He is one of the top Para-Powerlifting coaches and has won numerous championships with Team Nigeria.
The University of Port Harcourt received Special Recognition honors. Team Uniport received recognition for its unwavering supremacy in university sports on a local and global scale. They claim of having won the WAUG four times and the Nigerian University Games six times. They won the 2018 WAUG in November. George Obiano, head coach of the school’s athletics program, accepted the award on behalf of Team Uniport.
Additionally, Mrs. Kudirat Akhigbe, a 400m Masters Athlete in the W35 class, received a Special Recognition award. She received the honor of becoming the first athlete from Nigeria to take home a medal from the World Athletics Masters Championships.
Chief Mrs. Mary Onyali, the first Nigerian to attend five Olympics, extended her best wishes, and double Olympic winner Enefiok Udo-Obong gave the keynote address.
Three teenage athletes; Ese Oguma, Ruth Usoro, and Tolu Adebakin, who wanted to see Nigeria’s track and field history redone in gold founded the Athletic Heat Awards in 2017. The first Athletic Heat Track and Field awards were created in 2017 after they learned there was no recognition or compensation for medal-winning regular and para-athletes in Nigeria.
The only Nigerian awards program that specifically recognizes domestic regular and para track and field athletes are the Athletic Heat Awards.
The second Athletic Heat Awards of 2018 honored and acknowledged athletes and coaches in nine categories, including Coach of the Year and Male and Female Junior, Youth, and Senior Athletes. Two exceptional para-athletes and a distinguished para-coach each received three special recognition awards.