Weekend Wrap: Oduduru runs fastest time in the world, Okeze claims Sun Belt 200m title, Abdullahi wins Silver, Abire and Ekevwo record PB’s
Divine Oduduru, is already a fans favourite in Nigeria. However, it’s not exaggerating to say he’s on the rise to cementing his place as favourite in US and world athletics.
Over the weekend, the Delta State born sprinter brilliantly raced to Indoor PB’s to win Double titles for his school, at the BIG 12 Championships in Texas.
His first title came in the 60m, where he inspired a 1-2 finish for Texas Tech, clocking a massive PB of 6.52s. This time is the No.3 time in the world, No.2 in US and catapults him as joint No.4 on Nigerian all-time list behind Nigerian record holder, Deji Aliu (6.48s), 100m African record holder, Olusoji Fasuba (6.49s) and Davidson Ezenwa (6.51s).
Building on this performance and showing that was just a tip of the great form he’s in this season, the speedster was back moments later in his trademark event, the 200m, clocking a jaw-dropping 20.08s to successfully defend both titles from last year.
Here’s the importance and significance of his 20.08s:
- 1 time in the world for 2019
- 3 on world all-time list
- 1 time in the NCAA’s and US
- New Nigerian record
- 2 on African all-time list behind world record holder, Frankie Fredericks
- BIG 12 Championship record.
This means he has currently sealed his place as one of the best 200m indoor runners in history, and with the steady progress he has made since transferring to US, it’s only a matter of time before he channels these great performances outdoors.
At the Sun Belt Conference Championship, Charles Okeze proved he’s second in line to Oduduru, after winning the 200m title for his school University of Arkansas.
He ran a fast 21.15s in the preliminaries to emerge fastest overall at the championship, before taking the win in the final clocking 21.41s. Those times are Nigeria’s second fastest this year, behind world leader Oduduru.
Meanwhile at the MSPF Championship in Seattle, North Carolina State University freshman, Bashiru Abdullahi was on the podium for his school.
The 110mH African junior record holder, overcame the short sprints hurdles in 7.90s to finish in close 2nd. Noteworthy is that this is his first year in US, and we can only salivate on the progress he’s going to make during his stay.
The SEC Championship didn’t witness any Nigerian athlete medal, but the duo that competed made sure they left with impressive PB’s.
First was Mercy Abire of Louisiana State University, who leapt to an indoor personal record of 6.26m to painfully finish 4th in the women’s Long Jump.
Raymond Ekevwo, interestingly opened his 2019 season at the Championship for University of Florida, producing two PB’s in two days.
The preliminaries saw him clock 6.67s to finish 2nd and qualify for the final, where he recorded another best of 6.66s for 6th position, which is ironically just 0.02s short of the Bronze medallist.
A quick reminder that both Abire and Ekevwo, were former students of Oral Robert’s University where they won the 2018 Summit League titles in their various events, before they transferred to their current school’s at the start of the 2019 season.
Kelechi Nwanaga, was also in action for her school University of Maryland Baltimore County, competing in the Shot Put event with a distance of 13.23m to finish 5th at the American East Indoor Championships.
Attention will now shift to the NCAA Indoor Championships, where we expect a number of Nigerian athletes to produce more brilliant performances and be on the podium for their various schools.