Reigning African Games fastest man, Nigeria’s Raymond Ekevwo fulfilled expectations as he zoomed into his first IAAF World’s 100m semi finals on a day one of the 17th edition of the IAAF flagship event, Completesports.com reports
Ekevwo raced inside 10 seconds (9.96 seconds) for the first time in Rabat, Mirocco on his way to winning the blue ribband title and the University of Florida undergraduate student was tipped to make a big impression on his IAAF Worlds debut and he didn’t disappoint as he came second (10.14 seconds) in the third of six heats on Friday evening in Doha, Qatar, venue of the championships.
It was however a different and not so good tale for the two other Nigerians on the day. Divine Oduduru was touted to be the first Nigerian man (or woman) to make the 100m podium following his explosive 9.86 seconds run in June enroute to winning the blue ribband title at the 2019 NCAA Championships.
Post NCAA, Oduduru has failed to extend his collegiate dominance to the world stage and was missing in action in Doha with a Did Not Start sign in lane 3 assigned to him on the start list.
While Oduduru withdrew at the last minute after confirmation of entries had been done and risks not running again in Doha if there is no qenuine reason for failing to show up, the third Nigerian, Usheoritse Itshekiri, bronze medal winner in the event at the African Games came in last (seventh,10.46 seconds) in his heat and crashed out of the race for the podium.
Nigerians will now have only Ekevwo in the semis which will be run on Saturday evening in Doha.
Ekevwo will however have to run faster than the 10.14 seconds he ran in the heat to be guaranteed of a spot in the final which will also be run later on Saturday tonight.
The NCAA 4x100m gold medallist has been drawn in lane six in the second semis and will contend with 2011 world champion, Yohan Blake of Jamaica (lane 4), defending world champion, Justin Gatlin of the USA (lane 5),Yuki Koike of Japan in lane 3 and the man Ekevwo beat to the African Games gold, Cote D’Ivoire’s Arthur Cisse (lane 7).
Meanwhile former African sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare has sensationally pulled out of the women’s 100m billed for Saturday evening.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games double sprint champion was earlier billed to run in heat five of the 100m. Pulling out means a missed opportunity to chase a first ever blue ribband medal at the Championships.