Divine Oduduru was made to work hard for his first ever National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor title, racing to victory in the men’s 200m with a time of 20.49s at the Championships held in Birmingham on Saturday.
Oduduru came into the Championships as the favourite, having clocked a very fast World Leading mark of 20.08s which he ran last month in Lubbock, Texas. However, he had to show that it wasn’t a fluke, holding off Kasaun James to take the win.
Having missed out in the top 3 in the men’s 60m earlier on, finishing 7th in 6.62s, Oduduru knew he couldn’t afford to miss an opportunity to land a National title in the 200m which came up 40mins after the 60m.
Coming back to compete in the 200m, Oduduru emerged the fastest overall in the two heats, beating James who was 2nd behind him in 20.56s. Keitavious Walter who won heat 1 was 3rd overall in 20.76s.
Oduduru showed signs of things to come when he broke Christian Coleman’s 200m Facility Record (FR) of 20.55s to qualify from the rounds, racing to a time of 20.34s on Friday.
He might not have been very fast on Saturday, but having competed in two races within a space of 40mins, it was evident seeing signs of fatigue in the 200m final where he lasted the haul to outrun James in the home straight to take victory.
This is Oduduru’s second 200m NCAA title, winning his first one in 2018 at an outdoor circuit nine months ago during finals of the NCAA Division 1 Championships in Oregon. This second title which he has just secured, sees him join an elite list of athletes to have won on both circuits.
Oduduru will take some time to prepare for the outdoor season following his impressive performances at indoor competitions. With a PB of 6.52s in the 60m and 20.08s, Oduduru will definitely be one to watch out for when the outdoor season commences