All four Nigerian athletes entered for the 200m at the World Championships in Oregon, advanced to the semis from their respective heats on Day 4 of the championships.
First up on the track was Stanford freshman Udodi Onwuzurike who moved past the disappointment of not making the 100m semis to qualify for the next round of the men’s 200m which many consider his stronger event.
Drawn in the same heat as newly-crowned men’s 100m champion, Fred Kerley, the 19-year-old put his best foot forward, running from Lane 7 to finish 3rd behind Kerley (20.17s) and fellow African Sinesipho Dambile (20.29, PB), clocking a time of 20.34s.
The World U20 Champion out-dipped Jamaica’s Yohan Blake to take the last automatic spot from the heat but Blake eventually sailed through to the next round as one of the non-automatic qualifiers.
In the women’s event, Favour Ofili opened her World Championships campaign on a winning note as she pulled clear of the rest of the field to take the race in 22.24s, finishing ahead of USA’s Jenna Prandini (22.38s) and Jacinta Beecher of Australia (3.22s).
100m semi-finalist Grace Nwokocha also gave a good account of herself in Heat 5, running alongside NCAA Champion Abby Steiner who dominated the race in 22.26s. The Nigerian Champion followed hard to cross the line in 22.61s in 3rd place, with World Indoor Champion Mujinga Kambundji holding on for 2nd with a time of 22.34s.
Rosemary Chukwuma settled for 5th in Heat 1 which was won by world leader Shericka Jackson who clocked 22.33s. Chukwuma posted 22.93s but luckily made it to the semis as one of the non-automatic qualifiers.