Two days ago (June 7), Nigerians celebrated the one year anniversary of the incredible feats Divine Oduduru achieved in Austin,Texas, USA where he not only made history as the second Nigerian and third African man to successfully complete a sprint double in the history of the NCAA Championships, his wind-legal performances also rank No. 2 all-time in NCAA meet history.
But, is Oduduru the fastest Nigerian ever? That honour belongs to Olusoji Fasuba who ran 9.85 seconds in Doha some 14 years ago. So,where does Oduduru’s 9.86 seconds run ranks in the Nigerian all-time list? Complete Sports’ DARE ESAN takes a look at the 10 fastest Nigerian men ever in the blue ribband event..
1. Olusoji Fasuba (9.85)
Fasuba is the fastest man in Nigeria and he has been since May 2006 when he scorched to a first ever sub-9.90 performance by a Nigerian sprinter. Nigeria’s 100m champions in 2006 and 2007, the Ekiti state-born sprinter is the second Nigerian man (after Uchenna Emedolu) to win a global sprint title following his success in the 60m event at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia,Spain in 2008.
He was also a member of Nigeria’s bronze-winning 4x100m quartet to the Olympics in Athens, Greece in 2004.
Fasuba remains the only man in the African continent to have won the 100m gold at the African Championships three consecutive times and his 9.85 seconds run 14 years ago is still an African record.
2. Divine Oduduru (9.86)
Oduduru raced into history books last year June when he became the second Nigerian sprinter to duck inside 9.90 seconds in the 100m courtsey his stunning 9.86 seconds gold-winning run at the National Collegiate of Athletics Associations (NCAA) Championships in Austin, Texas. He also picked the 200m gold in another stunning 19.73 seconds performance to equal the sprint double feat another Nigerian, Olapade Adeniken performed on the same ground in 1992 in the same competition.
Despite his blistering performance last year, Oduduru is however still waiting for his first national title in the 100m.
3. Seun Ogunkoya (9.92)
One Nigerian sprinter that failed to fulfil his full potentials, Ogunkoya was one of the most feared sprinters in 1998, the year he shot into international prominence like a bolt out of the blues.
A 10.15 seconds runner two years earlier, Ogunkoya served notice of a star in the making in 1997 when he broke 10 seconds for the first time, running 9.97 seconds at a meeting in Formia, Italy.
He came fully into international reckoning in 1998 when he outran Frankie Fredericks at the Weltklasse Golden League in Zurich, stopping the clock at 9.96 seconds, a new personal best.
Ogunkoya was not done yet.bHe was clearly the man to beat at the African Championships in Dakar, Senegal that year and he didn’t disappoint as he stormed to a new 9.94 seconds personal best to retain the title he ran 10.45 seconds to win on first attempt two years earlier at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, Cameroun. The time equalled the Nigeria 100m record set four years earlier.
He was the man in form at the IAAF (now World Athletics) World Cup in Athletics (now Continental Cup) in Johannesburg,South Africa later that year. He however failed to fulfil expectations as his 9.92 seconds’ new personal best and Nigerian record was only good enough for second place behind Obadele Thompson (9.87 seconds) of Barbados.
Ogunkoya was the national 100m king in 1997 and 1998.
4. Davidson Ezinwa (9.94)
Certainly one of the most talented sprinters Nigeria has ever seen, Ezinwa was hailed as the next big thing in Nigerian track and field in 1990 when he ran 10.05 seconds to win the 100m event at the Bauchi leg of the AFN Classics competition. Those who thought the performance was by happenstance were convinced of the then 20-year old talent when in 1991 he lowered his personal best to 10.04 seconds, this time in Abuja. The question on everyone’s lips was when would he become the first Nigerian sprinter to run a sub-10 seconds in the event.
He answered the question less than a year later, scorching to a new 9.96 seconds lifetime best in Walnut, California, USA. He was however denied the honour of becoming the first Nigerian to break 10 seconds in the blue ribband event.
He improved his 100m personal best to 9.94 in Linz, Austria in 1994 to become a national record holder in the event, breaking Olapade Adeniken’s 9.95 seconds record set three months earlier.
Ezinwa was national 100m champion in 1992,1995 and 1996.
5. Olapade Adeniken (9.95)
Like Davidson Ezinwa, Adeniken showed flashes of a great sprinter in the making when he ran 10.16 seconds in Duisburg, Germany in 1989. He went on to race to a 10.10 seconds personal best the following year. In 1991, he ran 10.10 seconds personal season’s best again to show the consistency that would catapualt him to international reckoning.
In 1992, Adeniken made an indelible mark:he became the first Nigerian man to break 10 seconds in the 100m courtesy the 9.97 seconds he ran to win the 100m gold at the NCAA finals in Austin,Texas in the USA for University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP).He would go on to run 20.11 seconds in the 200m at the same competition to successfully complete a sprints double which ensured he became the first Nigerian to achieve the feat at the American collegiate championships.
Adeniken was national 100m champion in 1994.
6. Deji Aliu (9.95)
Deji chose the biggest stage in African athletics in 2003, the African Games to finally fulfil the promise he first flashed in 1995 in Bauchi where he ran 10.02 seconds to win the 100m event at the AFN Classics.
Four years later,precisely in 1999 in Lievin, France he scorched to an incredible 6.48 seconds over the 60m indoors. It was the second fastest ever 60m run by an African, coming a day after Ghana’s Leonard Myles-Mills ran 6.45 seconds to set an African record in the event.
That year,the Ghanaian ducked inside 10 seconds for the first time in his career, running 9.98 seconds in Boise, Idaho, USA.Deji could only manage 10.11 seconds that year in Johannesburg.
He moved closer to breaking 10 seconds in 2002 when he ran 10.03 seconds in Athens. The 1994 World Junior champion finally got his break in 2003,running 9.98 seconds to win his second consecutive national 100m crown in Abuja. He improved by three hundreths of a second a few weeks later at the African Games at the same venue. Interestingly, Deji’s 9.95 seconds run didn’t confer on him the title of national record holder. That honour belonged to Seun Ogunkoya at the time.
7. Raymond Ekevwo (9.96)
Ekevwo stunned Africa last year when he out ran Divine Oduduru, the man who a few months earlier had taken the NCAA by storm with incredible performances, at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco. He didn’t just win,he broke 10 seconds!.The feat instantly made him the seventh fastest Nigerian in the All-Time list and one of only five Nigerians to win the blue ribband evet at the quadrennial games.
8. Francis Obikwelu (9.97)
From the quartermile in 1994 to the top of the sprints in 1996, Obikwelu briefly became the next star in Nigerian athletics when he successfully completed a sprints double at the World Junior Championships in 1996 in Sydney. He however left the stage for Seun Ogunkoya who shot into international reckoning two years later with some incredible performances.
Obikwelu however stormed back into contention in 1999,running 19.84 seconds in the 200m,the fastest time in the world that year to win a bronze medal at the World Championships in Seville,Spain.
The following year,he ducked inside 10 seconds in the 100m for the first time to become the eighth fastest Nigerian in the event.
Sadly, Obikwelu changed allegiance to Portugal and went on to run 9.86 seconds and win Olympic 100m silver for his adopted country.
Obikwelu was Nigeria’s 100m winner in 1999 and 2000.
9. Uchenna Emedolu (9.97)
Agulu-born Emedolu was drafted from football where he was just among the numbers to track and field by coach Tobias Igwe (now late).He found fame and money,running 10.06 seconds in pouring rain to win a historic 100m gold at the 2002 IAAF (now World Athletics) World Cup in Athletics (now Continental Cup) in Madrid,Spain.A year later,he ran his only legal sub-10 seconds race at the African Games in Abuja.His 9.97 seconds run was betterred only by compatriot,Deji Aliu’s 9.95 seonds gold-winning performance.
Emedolu was national 100m king only one and that was in 2005 albeit he won the 200m four times.
10. Daniel Effiong (9.98)
Effiong was the third Nigerian man to actually run a sub-10 seconds in the 100m when he raced to a personal best of 9.98 seconds to place second behind Andre Cason (USA) at the semi-final stage at the fourth IAAF World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
He would go on to become the first Nigerian man to run in the final of the event at the championships,running 10.04 seconds to place seventh.
Effiong’s 9.98 seconds performance is also the fastest any Nigerian has ran in the history of the championships. That year he won the national 100m title.