It’s been three weeks since the 2019 NCAA indoor season began, with the IAAF world indoor tour kicking off last weekend to officially declare the 2019 international athletics season open.
Nigerian athletes have not been left out of action especially in the collegiate circuit, as some of them have been dashing out impressive slices on what to expect this year, while others marked their debut season over the weekend.
Based on this we’ve compiled all Nigerian athlete’s performances over the weekend, which features Divine Oduduru running a world No3 time in the 200m, Rilwan Alowonle making his IAAF indoor tour debut, Abike Egbeniyi honoured at her school in Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), etc.
Not a novice in the 200m NCAA anymore, Oduduru proved he’s ready to dish out more outstanding performances this year, after comfortably winning his Heat in 20.51s at the Texas Tech Classic.
This is his first 200m race of the year and the time is currently ranked No3 in the world, while also being 7th fastest in Texas Tech program history.
After this, he teamed up with his school’s quatermilers to run 3:05.81 in the 4x400m, which is the 8th fastest in their school history.
In his first professional season and race, Alowonle gave a good account of himself running a Season’s best of 48.07s to finish 3rd in the 400m, at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston, which is the first of the IAAF World Indoor Tour series.
The US born athlete who represented Nigeria for the first time at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he got to the finals of the 400mH, his trademark event, with a commendable 5th place finish, will hope to improve on his indoor 400m time as the weeks come by so as to help his 400mH outdoors, as he guns to surpass the World Championships qualifying time in the event.
Louisiana State University jumper and one of our 2019 NCAA watchlist, Mercy Abire secured a 3rd place finish with 6.09m at the Razorback Invitational in Arkansas.
Abire’s performance though modest, will target farther jumps as the season unfolds, in order to reach top shape before the SEC indoor championships.
Having had a breakout 2018 season which saw him get to the 200m semifinals at the NCAA Championships and closing closing the year with a Personal best of 20.69s, Okeze continued on his Personal record performance by clocking 47.99s to finish 2nd in the 4000m at the Arkansas State Invitational.
The only Nigerian sprinter featured last weekend, Cecilia Francis of MTSU won the 60m in a commendable 7.47s, at the KMS Invitational in Birmingham.
At the University of New Mexico indoor meet, Bashiru Abudullahi recorded a 60mH Personal best of 7.84s to finish 2nd for his school California State University.
Abdullahi is the African junior record holder in the 110m hurdles, and we hope this is the beginning of more record breaking performances for the young lad in the NCAA’s.
We’ll close the weekend’s wrap with an honorary recognition by MTSU on their best athlete so far in 2019, Egbeniyi.
She was honoured at the school’s women’s basketball game for her recent performances. These performances include clocking a 600m time of 1:27.80 which is the eighth fastest in NCAA history, then followed that up with another record breaking performance in the 800m a week later, racing to a fast 2:03.77 which is a new Nigerian Indoor Record.
Her 800m performance earned her USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week, the highest mention for NCAA’s best athletes in an outgoing week.