Two of Nigeria’s three entrants in the men’s 100m at the ongoing World Championships in Oregon advanced to the semis on Day 1 of the Biennial competition.
Reigning African Games Champion Raymond Ekevwo was the first to hit the track and he did so in style, finishing as one of the automatic qualifiers in Heat 1 where he returned a time of 10.17s in 3rd place, with USA’s Marvin Bracy taking the win in 10.05s as Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake followed in 10.15s.
Nigeria’s fastest man Favour Ashe started his World Championships debut on an impressive note. The 20-year-old who was drawn in a stacked Heat 2 crossed the line in 4th place with a clocking of 10.00s, with USA Champion Fred Kerley dominating the race with a fast 9.79s, as Zharnel Hughes posted 9.97s for 2nd. Liberia’s Emmanuel Matadi was the third automatic qualifier from the heat with 9.99s as Ashe and Bingtian Su (10.15s) advanced to the semis as the fastest losers.
It was not a good day in the office for Udodi Onwuzurike who settled for 6th place in 10.26s in Heat 6 which was taken by defending champion Christian Coleman in 10.08s.
Ashe is set to receive a baptism of fire in the semis, having been drawn in the same heat as reigning Olympic Champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs; African Record holder Ferdinand Omanyala; World Junior Champion in the event Letsile Tebogo; Canadian Champion Aaron Brown; USA’s Marvin Bracy; Jamaican new kid on the block Oblique Seville and Brazil’s Erik Cardoso.
Meanwhile, teammate Ekevwo will face some formidable opponents like USA’s Trayvon Bromell, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, Commonwealth Games Champion Akani Simbine and Abdul Hakim Sani-Brown. The men’s 100m semis come up at 2am (Nigerian time).