Accra - Ghana — Nigeria began defence of its regional sports title on a good note by winning the first gold medal at the 2nd ECOWAS Under-23 Games which opened in Accra, the Ghanaian capital on Saturday 16th June 2012. Miss Agber Shimbmengey clocked 2.10.51 Secs to beat all comers in the 800m women's race that flagged off the biennial Games at the El-Wak Sports Stadium, Accra.
Ghana's Agnes Abu and Rita Luonab took the silver and bronze medals in 2.12.35 and 2.16.65 Secs respectively. But in a revenge fashion in the 1,500m men's event, Ghana's Sampson Azumah (3.57.14 Secs) and Bright Attah-Gyamfi (4.03.63 Secs) clinched gold and silver respectively, ahead of Nigeria's David Banabas with bronze at 4.04.19 Secs. Ghana's Vic-President His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, who opened the Games, presented the medals to the 800 m winners.
Some 431 medals and 23 trophies are at stake at the week-long competition featuring athletics, handball, volleyball, African wrestling and boxing, which is making its debut at the biennial regional sporting fiesta. Eleven of the 15 ECOWAS Member States (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) are fielding 1,740 sportsmen and women for honours at the Accra Games. The regional Games serve as catalyst for peace, unity and regional development. The region's athletes are also using the Accra competition as a platform to fine-tune their preparations for the forthcoming London Olympics. Nigeria hosted and won the first edition of the regional Games in 2010.