Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru will be the cynosure of all eyes at the Stade de la Pontaise in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday when the money-spinning IAAF Diamond League meeting makes its scheduled eighth of 14 stops, Completesports.com reports.
Oduduru has been lined-up to make his much awaited debut at the 2019 Athletissima in the 200m event and the whole world awaits how the former African Junior sprint king who successfully completed a sprint double in incredible fashion at the 2019
NCAA Championships in Austin,Texas last month will fare when he lines up against a top quality field after his heroics in the American collegiate circuit.
The 2014 IAAF World Junior silver medallist ran 9.86 seconds to win the 100m crown at the NCAA in Austin,Texas last month. The time was his third sub-10 seconds race of the season in the blue ribband event. He followed up within an hour of the 100m sub-10 seconds run with another blockbuster performance in the 200m, cracking a sub-20 seconds performance in the 200m (19.73 seconds), a feat only achieved 12 times in the history of track and field and the Nigerian owns three of them.
In Laussane, Oduduru will be up against reigning world champion in the half lap, Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev who holds a personal best of 19.76 seconds he ran to win last August at the ISTAF in Berlin, but holds a personal season’s best of 19.99 seconds achieved at the opening leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Doha, Qatar in May.
The Nigerian is also up against the second fastest man over the distance this season, USA’s Noah Lyles whose 19.72 seconds personal season’s best is bettered only by fellow American, Michael Norman who outran his compatriot by two hundreth of a second at the Golden Gala Petro Menea Diamond League meeting in Rome in early June.
Canadian, Andre De Grasse, once touted to be the successor to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is also in Friday’s star-studded lineup. De Grasse broke his first sub-20 seconds run over the distance this season just a forthnight ago in Ostrava, Czech Republic where he ran 19.91 seconds to win.
Oduduru will not be the only Nigerian on parade in Lausanne as rave-making reigning African record holder over the 200m, Blessing Okagbare will be eager to achieve her first consecutive hat-trick of wins in the competition after storming to an 11.05 personal season’s best in her 100m win on June 16 in Rabat, Morocco and Sunday night’s impressive 22.05 seconds effort over the half lap at the Pre-Fontaine IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stanford, California.
Okagbare is making her seventh trip to the Athletissma and will be seeking her second win at the Stade de la Pontaise after winning the long jump event in 2013 with her 6.98m fifth round effort ahead of the irrepressible, multi world champion, Britney Reese of the USA who looked to be coasting home after jumping 6.96m in the fourth round to take over the lead from the Nigerian.
Okagbare, the 2010 NCAA 100m and long jump queen was listed twice for the 100m at the Athletissma and twice she failed to start. On Friday, she will be motivated by her recent impressive run of form and will be confident of outrunning Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, 2013 world champion and returning mother, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce of Jamaica, Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Ivorian, Marie-Josée Ta Lou.
Okagbare tops the 100m Diamond League with 15 points garnered from her win in Rabat and second place finish in Shanghai.
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