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200m champion, Divine Oduduru wants new NCAA record

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Reigning NCAA Division I 200m champion, Divine Oduduru started his quest to become the second Nigerian man to successfully complete a sprint double at the Championships on an explosive note.

It will be recalled that Divine Oduduru made the impressive showing at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin,Texas on Thursday.

Oduduru scorched to a wind-aided 10.96 seconds, the fastest time in the first round of the 100m event and 19.97 seconds, also the fastest time in the first round of the 200m event.

The Texas Tech University undergraduate student is bidding to become the second Nigerian after Olapade Adeniken to win the 100m and 200m titles at the same NCAA Division I Championships.

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Adeniken ran 10.09 seconds and 20.11 seconds in the colours of University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) to successfully complete the sprint double at the championship in 1992.

He thus, became the second African to achieve the feat following Namibian, Frankie Fredericks’ feat a year earlier for Brigham Young University.

Oduduru will thus become the third African to win the two titles if he succeeds in the finals on Saturday.

It seems it is going to be difficult to bet against the Nigerian who has taken the collegiate track world by storm since bursting on the scene in 2018.

He won the 200m outdoor title out of lane eight at the championships in Eugene in June 2018.

This year, he has gone sub-20 in the 200m thrice and sub-10 in the 100m thrice – doing both in the span of a single hour at Baylor.

He is only the tenth man in world history to achieve the feat on the same day. He is the only man in the world to have gone sub-20 thrice this season.

It will be recalled in April, he shattered his Personal Best (PB) and School Record with a 9.94s clocking in 100m breaking an almost 13-year jinx.

The victory made him the first Nigerian man to run a sub-10 since Olusoji Fasuba’s feat in 2006 when he set the African Record of 9.85s.

The new lifetime record doubles as the fastest time in the world with a tailwind of 0.8m/s and it also takes up the Texas Tech Junior as an equal 3rd fastest Nigerian of all-time.

Oduduru became the 139th man to break the sub-10s barrier legally and now has the fastest times ever recorded by an athlete from Texas Tech.

His team mate, Andrew Hudson was 2nd in 10.13s while Baylor’s Maxwell Willis finished 3rd in 10.21s.

Exactly 55 minutes afterwards, Oduduru graced the track again in the 200m which is widely regarded as his stronger event. He went all out, storming to an astonishing Personal Best (PB) of 19.76s that broke the Nigerian 200m record set by Francis Obikwelu (19.84s) in Seville as far back as 1999.

He officially becomes the 3rd fastest man over the distance in Africa behind the legendary Frankie Fredericks of Namibia who ran 19.68s as his career best and holds the Area Record at that mark.

Divine Oduduru also ties on the all-time list with great men like Carl Lewis and Joe DeLoach who have the same Personal Records at 15th on the IAAF Top Performance list.

With regard to the NCAA, 19.76s puts the Nigerian up as the 2nd fastest man in the history of the event on the collegiate turf, only surpassed by Walter Dix’s 19.69s run, while Divine Oduduru moves ahead of Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin on the same list.

Texas Tech Senior, Andrew Hudson finished in 20.47s while Maxwell Willis consolidated on his 3rd place finish in the 100m with 20.71s in the 200m all on the back of a 0.8m/s wind reading.

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