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Three Nigerian sprinters expected to hit new heights this year

3. Raymond Ekevwo There’s a popular saying that “A champion isn’t made in a day, but is made by years of hard work, discipline and…

3. Raymond Ekevwo

There’s a popular saying that “A champion isn’t made in a day, but is made by years of hard work, discipline and dedication”. So how about we coin ours: “The future of a possible Champion is known by the giant steps he’s taken in a breakout year”!

This is the tale of Raymond Ekevwo who has taken giant strides both at national and continental levels, to lay claim to his reputation as one of the country’s fastest rising home based sprinters.

Ekevwo first showed he was ready to rub shoulders with the big guns in Nigerian Athletics when he clocked a then Personal Best (PB) of 10.56s, at the AFN Golden League in Sapele. A week later at the D.K. Olukoya Youth and Junior Championships, he lowered this time to 10.53s to easily win his heat.

This certified his place as one of the medal contenders, and the teenager didn’t disappoint, racing to a new PB of 10.37s to be crowned Nigerian Junior Champion.

With the number of age group competitions billed for 2017, it’s only a matter of time before the speedster demonstrates that he is not just a Nigerian Champion, but perhaps the African and if possible, future World Champion within his age bracket.

 

 

2. Divine Oduduru

Only a few Nigerian athletes can lay claim to the 2016 Athletics season being one of the best in their career, and Divine Oduduru is one of such.

The African Games Silver medallist demonstrated his consistency on the home front by winning several Golden League meets, and scooping two medals at the Nigerian Trials; a Silver medal in the 100m clocking a Personal Best (PB) of 10.25s, before regaining his 200m title from 2014 in 20.51s.

Oduduru’s prowess in Nigerian sprints cannot be over-emphasized, taking note of the fact that he’s produced the country’s fastest times in the 200m in the past three years. With 2017 being a World Championship year, we can’t help but expect the best from the Nigerian Champion who will be aiming to run new PBs in his events.

He’s already an Olympic semifinalist; who says he can’t take it a step higher by becoming a World Championships finalist?

 

 

1. Tobi Amusan

Our No.1 Nigerian athlete to certainly watch out for this year is sprints hurdler, Tobi Amusan. Here’s a quick lowdown of her key performances in 2016 and why she deservedly sits in this position:

She’s the Conference USA 60m Hurdles Indoor Champion; Conference USA 100m Hurdles/200m Champion and Silver medallist in the Long Jump; High point scorer at Conference USA Outdoor Championships; Conference USA Female Track and Field athlete of Year 2016; NCAA Division I 100m Hurdles Silver Medallist; UTEP 100m Hurdles Record holder (12.83s); African Junior Record (AJR) holder;  World Junior Championships finalist, and Rio Olympics semifinalist.

Worthy of note is the fact that she achieved all those in her first year abroad at the University of Texas, El Paso. Amusan currently stands as the favourite to break Glory Alozie’s National Record (NR) of 12.44s.

The multi-talented sprinter has already started the 2017 season on a victorious note, clocking a PB of 8.18s in the heats, before winning the 60m Hurdles in 8.19s at the Commodore Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee.

This proves her readiness for an explosive season of scaling the hurdles, and if there’s any athlete who knows how to surmount obstacles, it is certainly Tobi Amusan!