By Dare Esan:
Five-time African Junior Champion and 2014 World Junior silver medallist in the 200m, Divine Oduduru, who late last week added to the growing list of Nigerian NCAA champions when he out-dipped Ewers Andre of Florida State University to win the 200m title (20.28) for Texas Tech University at the 2018 National Collegiate of Athletics Association (NCAA) championships in Eugene, Oregon says his feat is a dream come true.
“It’s the dream of every student-athlete to get to the national meet,” Oduduru was quoted as saying after the race by his school’s official website.
“Coming over and winning it, I’m very happy. I want to say thank you to my coach and my teammates and everyone who made today a reality. I appreciate God for having those people around me,” said the man who broke Texas Tech University’s 14-year old 100m record with a 10.10 seconds personal best run last April.
Texas Tech University head coach Wes Kittley hailed his Nigerian import and credited the great performance to the good job done by the school’s assistant coach Calvin Robinson.
“How incredible was he [Oduduru] today?” Kittley asked. “He didn’t run great in the prelim, but he got in there today and was just focused. [Assistant] Coach [Calvin] Robinson did a fabulous job getting him ready for today.”
Oduduru has thus joined such Nigeria greats as Olapade Adenike, George Ogbeide, Clement Chukwu, Blessing Okagbare and Tobiloba Amusan among others who have been crowned NCAA champions.
Meanwhile Abike Egbeniyi also made history at the championships as she became the first Nigerian woman in the two full laps race to make it to the podium.
Egbeniyi of Middle Tennessee State University ran 2:04.33 to place second in the 800m behind Watson Sammy of Texas A&M University who ran 2:04.21 in pouring rain to take the gold.
“I am extremely impressed with Abike’s performance this (Saturday) evening,” stated the University’s associate head coach Keith Vroman. “Going into the race we talked about focusing a lot on that last 100-meter and really visualizing it before coming to the track today and she executed it perfectly in the race. The rain was definitely a challenge that we weren’t expecting but everyone is experiencing the same elements and have to push through the race and very proud of Abike’s resilience and accomplishments today.”
Shot Putter,Awotunde Josh of South Carolina University also made it to the podium in the men’s Shot Put as his 20.57m effort
was good enough for the silver medal behind Georgia University’s Comenetia Denzel who won with a heave of 20.61m.
Quartermilers Adekunle Fasasi and Emerald Egwim were not so lucky to make the podium.Fasasi ran the first leg for the Florida State University in the men’s 4x400m but their 3:01.83 seconds run copuld only fetch the quartet the fourth position.
Egwin competed in the individual 400m but could not make it to the final as her 52.57 seconds clocking was only good enough to make het the 12th overall best.