The 2016 Nigerian Trials in Sapele has been a fantastic one for Divine Oduduru who scooped two medals on Day 2 of the championship, clocking a time of 10.25s to place 2nd in the 100m, before racing to the 200m title in 20.51s.
It was a close call as Paul Dedewo followed hard but eventually had to settle for 2nd in 20.58s, as Emmanuel Arowolo finished 3rd in 21.28s. Defending champion Tega Odele placed a distant 5th in 21.50s.
This is an impressive performance from the former World Juniors Silver medallist, considering that he had to pull out of the 200m final at the African Championships in Durban less than two weeks ago after being hit by an injury during the semis.
Oduduru set a Personal Best (PB) of 10.23s on Thursday to qualify for the semis of the 100m. He had expected to go quicker than the winning time of 20.51s in the 200m, and looked a little disappointed at the time.
However regaining the 200m title he first won in 2014 was a great consolation for the sprinter who lost the crown to Tega in 2015 because of his absence at the trials due to ill-health.
He said, “It is always special to prove to the country that last year I didn’t pull out of the National Trials just because I felt like doing so. I pulled out because after the Grand Prix, I fell sick and was admitted in the hospital, and that was how I missed it. This victory is to make a statement that I remain No.1 in the country in the 200m.”
100m Champion Seye Ogunlewe won the ‘B’ final of the 200m in 21.28s as Victor Peka and Tubotein Taylor followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively in 21.34s and 21.51s.
Oduduru and Tega are the only male athletes to have qualified for the event at the forthcoming Olympic Games. Dedewo would hope to join them when he competes at the Warri Grand Prix on Saturday, July 9.
Meanwhile Blessing Okagbare won the women’s category of the race, taking the win in 22.77s as Olivia Ekpone and Zainab Sanni followed in 23.43s and 23.64s respectively.