Photo Credit: Texas Tech

Olusoji Fasuba’s 13-year old African Record of 9.85s in the men’s 100m, came under attack on a night when records fell at the strength and class of competitors in different disciplines of Athletics!

Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru thoroughly defined sprinting and produced very striking and standout performances to claim the sprint double in scorching times of 9.86s and 19.73s respectively at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

The Texas Tech Junior came as the favourite to the NCAA Championships with his then 100m PB of 9.94s, but it looked like the men’s 100m was going to be a close call as three more men joined him under the 10s barrier.

Cravon Gillespie did that first with 9.97s, while Mario Burke followed with a wind-aided 9.95s. Japan’s Hakim Sani Brown who was running for the Florida Gators, also dipped under the barrier in 9.99s at the SEC Championships to already highlight the blue-ribband race as one to watch out for.

Oduduru ran technically balanced races and had enough left in the tank for the big stage even as he was pushed by Hakim Sani to 9.96s in the semifinals of the men’s 100m.

With Gillespie just on the inside lane of Oduduru and Burke outside his lane, he knew he had a lot of work to do. With brilliant composure, he rose from the blocks and soon had a lead to build on. He held his form to the finish as he flashed past the line in an equal World Leading time of 9.86s first clocked by Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman at the Shanghai Diamond League a few weeks ago.

Oduduru becomes Nigeria and Africa’s second fastest man of all-time, just missing Olusoji Fasuba’s record by a hundredth of a second. His new Personal Best (PB) is also a Facility Record (FR) and School Record (SR) as he led four other men to new Personal Bests, including a National Record (NR) for Sani Brown.

It also goes as the second fastest time ever recorded in the NCAA, just behind Christian Coleman’s Collegiate Record of 9.82s.

He drew from the same well of strength, coordination and speed as he entered the 200m final. He was defending his title in that event and had no issues being one of the finest athletes in the world over the distance.

He navigated the curve smoothly and took it away in a new NR of 19.73s, which broke a mark he set earlier this season by three-hundredths of a second. His time passed for a PB, Facility Record, Meet Record, School Record and third fastest time in the world this year.

Oduduru therefore becomes just the second Nigerian to sweep the 100m and 200m at the NCAA Championships, after the heroics of Olapade Adeniken (1992), and the third African man to accomplish such a feat, with African Record holder Frankie Fredericks (1991) also included on the list.

His 200m time also sits him tightly as the third fastest in African history, behind Fredericks (19.68s) and South Africa’s Clarence Munyai (19.69s). It was truly phenomenal as he helped his school to the win in the men’s Team Standings. Having also clocked a School Record of 38.45s to finish 3rd in the men’s 4x100m, Texas Tech for the first time topped the final standings for the men with 60 ponts.

Athletics is a special shade of life for me, and my confidence has received a boost since I started out covering the sport from the stands of my home, and now as a Junior Sportswriter with Making of Champions - an opportunity to get better at what I do.


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