The last time a Nigerian man made a World Championships final in the men’s 100m was in 2007, when Olusoji Fasuba finished just outside the podium in Osaka. This was a year after he ran the then African Record of 9.85s.
Up until now, no Nigerian has achieved such a feat in the event. The 200m goes back further to when Uchenna Emedolu made the final in 2003 while the 400m stretches to Sunday Bada’s appearance in 1995!
For the first time in one season, 2023 saw three Nigerian men break 10 seconds in the 100m, and although the fastest men on this list won’t be at the World Championships in Budapest due to health concerns, it is led by Godson Brume who has run a 9.90s Personal Best (PB) while competing for LSU this season, and Stanford standout Udodi Onwuzurike with 9.92s.
The 2023 toplist infact demonstrates so much depth as the top 10 performers for the season rounds out at an astonishing 10.24s and with Nigerian sprints now wearing a somewhat new outlook, we could see a few of them challenge to change the course of things at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest.
Favour Ashe is Nigeria’s fastest man going to the World Championships in Budapest and although he had a slow start to the season, he has gradually gathered momentum for what is set to be the climax of the outdoor track season.
Competing for his new school in the US, Auburn University, he had a slight setback as he picked up a niggle during the indoor season, pulling up/out of at least three races. The challenges he faced during the indoor season however, didn’t stop him from breaking the School Record in the 60m, taking down the previous record held by Raheem Chambers from 2018 with a 6.51s run at the NCAA Indoor Championships!
He had an unusual start to the outdoor season as well, only running his first full race of the year at the Conference Championships, with more than half of the outdoor season gone. Gradually, he picked up pace and went ahead to run a Personal Best (PB) of 9.96s at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, qualifying for the final where he placed 8th overall.
Although he wasn’t able to defend his Nigerian title in Benin, only managing 4th with his 10.14s run, Ashe is known to give his best in championship races, so who is to say he can’t improve on his outing at the last edition of the World Championships and go ahead to make the finals this year?
Usheoritse “Dushos” Itsekiri has been out and flying this year. He is the highest ranked Nigerian male sprinter in the 100m and is been unbeaten in 30 out of 33 races this season, racking up several wins and accolades in Canada where he competes for University of Saskatchewan, and in Nigeria as well!
Completely undefeated indoors, he won the men’s 60m title at the U Sports Championships, setting a new PB & School Record of 6.61s in the process and for his outdoor opener, he equalled his 100m PB from 2019, running 10.02s at the Bob Vigars Classic.
Already one of the most consistent Nigerian sprinters in the world this year, it was no surprise that he emerged the Nigerian men’s 100m Champion at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, storming away to win the title of Nigeria’s fastest man in 10.02s!
By so doing, he equalled his PB from 2019 for the third time – the same year he won his first National title – with this being his second over 100m. Behind him was Seye Ogunlewe who laid claim to 2nd place in 10.11s, followed closely by Alaba Akintola in 10.12s.
His only loss this year over 100m was at the Lagos Athletics Series in Yabatech where he finished just narrowly behind Seye Ogunlewe in 10.05s.
Seye Ogunlewe has since his major breakthrough onto the Nigerian scene in 2017, been very consistent.
Owner of three National 100m titles, he has shown that he can compete successfully against the new class of rising sprinters and this year, he unlocked new levels of speed, taking two very good stabs at his PB set in 2019!
He first showed what he had up his sleeves at the Horst Mandl Memorial in Austria where he powered to a PB of 10.04s to finish 2nd behind Eugene Amo-Dadzie’s record-breaking 9.93s feat, one of his several stops and build-up to the Nigerian Athletics Championships in Benin.
In Benin, he ran a fierce race, clocking a time of 10.11s to snag 2nd place in what was a tightly contested race. He then went on to run at the Lagos Athletics Series, getting a rebound over the Nigerian 100m Champion Usheoritse Itsekiri as he edged the former for the win in 10.03s to 10.05s!
Ogunlewe has also improved his 200m considerably this season with 20.63s, and is the third Nigerian to compete over 100m at the World Championships in Budapest.
In the game of speed and the many things attached, Alaba Akintola is a name that pops up easily at the moment in Nigerian Athletics, and this is because he has over the years, proven himself and has come to be known as one of the nation’s most consistent 200m runners.
Brilliant in the 200m, he is just as good in the 100m and this was evident at the National Championships where he finished 3rd in the event and has a Season’s Best (SB) of 10.05s.
In the 200m which is seen as his forte, Alaba boasts a PB of 20.26s from last season, with several runs better than that this season, albeit the excessive tailwind readings in the US. He has gone as quick as 20.03s and definitely has more to give.
After his third place finish at the National Championships in Benin, he successfully defended his National 200m title in the same stadium where he won the first, and was also a core member of the men’s 4x100m quartet that qualified for the World Championships in Budapest!
Before the start of the indoor and outdoor seasons, Dubem Nwachukwu was a name not known by a lot of Nigerians, and in the last three (3) months, that story has completely changed.
The talented 23-year-old who runs for Arizona State University, caught the sight of many Nigerian track fans when he posted a fast 44.91s.
He notched a respectable 4th-place finish at the PAC-12 Championships about two weeks afterwards and although he was profiled as a US athlete, he really got the conversation going on his possibilities as a Nigerian athlete.
Nwachukwu who had never gone past the NCAA Preliminary rounds, easily sailed through and qualified for the NCAA Championships where he kicked off his campaign in grand style, breaking his PB with another brilliant run and returning 44.81s!
He finished 5th in the final, helped his school’s 4x400m team to Silver and also in his first visit back to Nigeria in many years, finished 2nd in the men’s 400m at the Nigerian Championships! He is Nigeria’s sole representative at the World Championships in Budapest.