Nigeria’s Oduduru breaks sprint jinx

The feat made him the first Nigerian to run under 10 secs in more than a decade.

Nigerian sprinter Divine Oduduru made history yesterday when he won the men’s 100m race at the 2019 Michael Johnson Invitational in Waco, Texas. Running for Texas Tech University, Oduduru ran a personal best of 9.94s which is the fastest time in the world so far this year. The feat made him the first Nigerian to run under 10secs in more than a decade. He beat his teammate, Andrew Hudson who ran 10.13s and Baylor’s Maxwell Willis in 10.21s

Not done yet, he has also obliterated Francis Obikwelu’s national 200m record of 19.84s set in 1999, with a new world leading time of 19.76s. The feat was made more astonishing due to the fact that Oduduru ran both races less than an hour apart.

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“In my 35 years of coaching, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Texas Tech coach Wes Kittley said. “To run that 9.94 and then 40 minutes later, ran the 200. This was a really tight schedule, and pretty spectacular performances that close together.”

Oduduru’s time was the second fastest by a collegian. Only 18 other men have ever run 19.76 or faster outdoors in the 200, among them world record holder Usain Bolt. Most of the others are legends such as Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, LaShawn Merritt, Yohan Blake, Justin Gatlin, Walter Dix, Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon.

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