Tag Archives: Divine Oduduru

Divine Oduduru, 200m World Junior Silver Medallist vying for African Crown!

8 Aug

Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru first came to reckoning as the sprint double champion of the maiden edition of the African Youth Athletics Championship (AYAC) which was held last year in Warri, Delta State. However, he has not looked back since then and is ready to prove that he has come of age as he gets set to make his debut in the African Senior Championships holding from August 10th to 14th in Morocco.

The Delta State athlete has remained consistent and has closely been on the heels of his seniors, if not surpassing them in recent times. Oduduru ran the fastest 200m by a Nigerian last season, posting a time of 21.13secs in the semis of the IAAF World Youth (U-18) Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine even though he didn’t make it to the podium.

It was a different story this year however, going by the scorching (thought wind-assisted) 20.25s he clocked recently at the IAAF World Junior (U-20) Championships in Oregon, which was good enough for a Silver medal, and incidentally turned out to be Nigeria’s  only medal at the championships! His time also ranks as one of the top five fastest times run by a Nigerian (unofficially, since it is not valid for record purposes due to the strong tailwind. This feat followed his outstanding performance at the National Trials where he won the 200 title easily in 20.87s in his debut outing at the competition.

He is bound to face stiff competition from Africa’s No.1 in the event this year, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala who has been in great form this season. The more experiened sprinter breasted an astonishing 19.96secs in Switzerland last month barely ninety minutes after setting an African record of 44.01s in the 400m. Other contenders are Lesotho’s Mosito Lehata, Africa’s No.2 with 20.36s, Akani Simbine of South Africa who is No.3 with 20.37s, followed by team mate, Ncincihli Titi (20.41s).  

Oduduru comes to the competition as the continent’s joint No.7 with a PB of 20.66s set in the semi-finals of the World Juniors, and it will be a breath of fresh air to see the GOLD medal to return to Nigeria eight years after Uchenna Emedolu won it, while Noah Akwu picked a Bronze medal at the last edition of the championship, which was held in the Republic of Benin two years ago!

 200m Men’s Schedule: August 13th – 10.10am, Round 1, 7.00pm – Semis, August 14th, 7pm – Final

(NB: This program is liable to change according to the number of participants and the local conditions)

African mens 200m list copy

Oduduru wins 200m World Junior Silver with wind-assisted 20.25s, equalling 5th fastest Nigerians all-time!

26 Jul

Divine Oduduru became the first Nigerian to run as fast as 20.25s in the 200 metres for TWELVE YEARS, as he raced to a silver medal behind USA’s Tentravis Friday (20.04s) at the ongoing World Junior Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA for U-20 athletes. Oduduru’s official Personal Best remains as 20.66s, which he ran in the semi-final the day before, because his 20.25s was run with a tailwind of 2.3m/s, which makes it ineligible for record purposes as it is over the legal limit of 2.0m/s. Nevertheless, it is an incredible performance whose won the Nigerian Trials in 20.87s, and has a lifetime best of 10.30s in the 100 metres. His progression over the last year has been nothing short of meteoric, given that a year ago he was running 21.13s set at the World Youth Championships in Ukraine!

The significance of Divine’s run cannot be overstated – he beat much more heavily favoured athletes such as Jamaica’s Michael O’Hara (who beat him in the heats and semi-finals) into 3rd place and Anguilla’s Zharnel Hughes (who trains with Usain Bolt’s coach) into 5th place, and in so doing matched the FIFTH fastest men on Nigeria’s all-time list in the 200 metres! That will not be an official statistic given that it was wind-assisted, but his potential to run such a time NOW should fill Nigerians with excitement that perhaps we have an athlete here whom, with the right guidance and training, could become a serious Olympic medal contender in 2 year’s time! This result is certainly a breath of fresh air in what has so far been a bitterly disappointing championships for Nigeria. Even at the last edition in Barcelona 2 years ago, Team Naija came home with no medals, so this is a result definitely worth celebrating!

There had been some talk about why Divine was not also entered into the 100 metres at these championships, and his coaching crew must be commended for picking their battles wisely – the 100m Champion from these games, USA’s Kendal Williams failed to make it to the 200m final, likely due to exhaustion, a serious factor to consider at the U-20 level. The big question now is, does Nigeria have any plans to ship him straight over to Glasgow to compete in the Commonwealth Games in the coming week? He was listed on the Commonwealth Games team following the Nigerian trials, but it remains to be seen if his participation in the 200m in Glasgow has been properly planned for. Commowealth 200m starts this Wednesday (July 30th) – watch this space!
Photo finish of Divine Oduduru's 2nd place finish in the 200m at the 2014 World Juniors,  in a wind-assisted time of 20.25 seconds!

Photo finish of Divine Oduduru’s 2nd place finish in the 200m at the 2014 World Juniors,
in a wind-assisted time of 20.25 seconds!

Nigeria’s 200 metres TOP FIVE (All-time)
1. Francis Obikwelu19.84s (1999), 20.01 (2000), 20.05 & 20.06 (1999)
2. Daniel Effiong20.10 (1994)
3. Olapade Adeniken20.11 (1992)
4. Oluyemi Kayode (RIP)20.22 (1992)
5. Davidson Ezinwa20.25 (1992)
5. Deji Aliu20.25 (2002)
athletic heat

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