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How Divine Oduduru broke Nigeria’s sprint jinx

,sets new national 200m record

Sprinter Divine Oduduru, last weekend gave Nigerian athletics hope by running 9.95seconds, a world leading performance at the Michael Johnson invitational meet in Waco Texas, USA.

Divine Oduduru
Divine Oduduru

It was the first time a Nigerian sprinter is breaking the 10.00 seconds barrier since 2006, when Olusoji Fasuba broke the African record with a 9.85 seconds run in Doha, Qatar.

Before going under 10.00seconds, Oduduru ran 19.76 seconds in the 200m to erase (subject to ratification) the 19.84 seconds national record held by Francis Obikwelu since 1999. Oduduru’s 19.76 is the third fastest African time in the 200m. Frankie Fredericks has the fastest 19.68 seconds, which is the African record since 1996.

Oduduru who is a student of the Texas University of Technology has established himself as the athlete to beat at the All Africa Games and with a little bit more push by him, he could also be a candidate for the gold at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.

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At the 2018 African Athletics Championships in Asaba, Delta State, Oduduru was eclipsed by the likes of Akani Simbine who posted 10.25 seconds, Arthur Cise of Cote d’ Ivoire 10.33 and Simone Magakwe of South Africa with 10.35. In the 200m Oduduru took the silver with 20.60 seconds, while South Africa’s Ncincihli Titi topped with 20.46seconds.

“I’m not surprised by Oduduru’s rise. He has always had the potentials since his junior days,” said former sprinter Deji Aliu.

“I knew that it wouldn’t be long before he break 10.00seconds. He can do better than he is doing now if the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and indeed the sports ministry come to his support.

“This is because he is in school and they can load him with competitions since they have him under scholarship. And at the end of the day wouldn’t have the energy to deliver when it matters most.”

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