Nigerian men are finding their feet in the sprints again and more of it came in the course of the Conference Championships across the NCAA in the United States.
In a build up to the NCAA preliminaries, Raymond Ekevwo competed at the SEC Championships and lit up the track in the men’s 100m. In the qualifying rounds, he ran a time of 10.31s to beat a much favoured Mustaqeem Williams by a hundredth of a second but that was only a pacesetter for what was to come.
In the final, he shot out to a big new Personal Record of 10.02s, almost matching Hakim Sani Brown who won in 9.99s as he had a better start, which made a difference.
Ekevwo’s new Personal Best (PB) elevates him to 12th on the Nigerian all-time list in the 100m.
Divine Oduduru, the World 100m Leader had no problems at all in winning the men’s 100m at the Big-12 Championships as he clocked 9.99s for the win.
The Texas Tech standout easily ran 10.11s in the preliminary rounds and was the fastest entrant in the race which he won by quite a margin.
Oduduru therefore becomes the only man to have broken 10s twice in 2019 and is well on the path for more. His times were also a new Stadium and Big-12 Record.
Prior to 2019 and after the African Record holder’s retirement, the fastest Nigerian in the blue-ribband race had 10.06s to his name, one which he did twice with the last one coming from the All-African Games in 2015. However, in 2019 alone, two men have gone faster than that, thereby securing qualification for the men’s 100m at the Tokyo Olympic Games as the qualification standard is 10.04s.
Bashiru Abdullahi has had a beautiful season in 2019, setting several PBs in his speciality, the 110m Hurdles. For the seventh time this season, he broke his PB, powering to the Big West Championships title as he held off Adam Raleigh in 13.80s to 13.83s.
The CSUN freshman therefore becomes the 2nd fastest man in school history in the sprint hurdles, doing it in the fastest time a Nigerian has run this season.
Cecilia Francis was in action for Middle Tennessee State University in the women’s 100m at the C-USA Championships where she equalled her Season’s Best (SB) with a 11.65s run to place 4th as she had done the same time in the preliminary rounds. Francis was also edged out in the 200m as she again finished 4th in 23.92s.
Abike Egbeniyi raked up an impressive win in the women’s 800m at the C-USA Championships.
Egbeniyi who won silver in the 800m at the last NCAA Outdoor Championships, ran a good race, finishing in 2:04.54, well clear of Lilian Koech who got 2nd in 2:05.77. She therefore took down the Facility Record (FR) by over two seconds and also improved her Meet Record (MR) from 2018.
Isaac Odugbesan won the men’s Shot Put at the Conference-USA Championships with an SB of 18.37m, Benjamin Arinze finished 7th in the men’s Long Jump with 7.24m while Mercy Abire placed 11th overall in the women’s Long Jump at the SEC Championships with 6.09m.
On the infield at the Big-10 Championships, Minnesota Senior, Temilola Ogunrinde broke the National women’s Hammer throw Record with a third-round 67.42m heave.
She had broken Queen Obisesan’s Record at the African Championships in Asaba, upping it from 66.86m to 67.39m, and has now added three centimetres to the record. It doubled and tripled as Facility and Meet Records while Sade Olatoye finished 2nd with 66.36m.