Sports

Oduduru, Adegoke, Itsekiri set Tokyo tracks on fire

*Tough hurdle for Nwokocha as she seeks 100m final spot

Charles Ogundiya

With eight days already gone at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Day 9 will see three of Nigeria’s best track and field stars, Divine Oduduru, Enoch Adegoke and Usheoritse Itsekiri, taking to the tracks in the first round of the men’s 100m.

Competing in his second Olympics, Oduduru, one of the few Nigerians to have run under 10 seconds in recent years, will be all fired up to make the semis and probably the final.

The US-based athlete will head to the tracks on Saturday with one goal in mind: a spot in the semis.

Oduduru’s season best is 10.05s while his PB is 9.86secs, so qualifying for the semis may probably not be a major problem for him.

With the 200m national record holder making his 100m debut at the Olympics, he will surely be gunning to make it a memorable one.

Adegoke is known to always have memorable outings on his debut at major championships.

He did this in 2018, when against all odds and to the surprise of many, he made it to the Commonwealth Games final in the Gold Coast, Australia.

Making his Olympics debut in Tokyo, the Nigerian champion will gun for another brilliant outing, hoping to go under the 10 seconds mark for the first time in his career.

Itsekiri is the third Nigeria competing in the 100m and with his 10.02s PB, he will set his sights on at least making the semis from where he will work on getting to the final.

The trio will be taking to the tracks immediately after the women’s 100m semi-finals where two Nigerians, Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha would be fighting hard to get to the final.

Meanwhile, it is going to be a tough hurdle to surmount for Team Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha as she takes to the tracks in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The presence of two-time Olympics 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, in her semi-final race should be an added motivation for the 20-year-old but will also serve as a big hurdle especially with another potential winner and African record holder in the women’s 100m, Murielle Ahoure of the Cote d’Ivoire, also running in the heat.

Nwokocha will have to do better than her 11.00s personal best that secured her a place in the semis if she wants to make the final in her maiden Olympics.

However, the National Sports Festival sprint champion has continued to defy every odd to get to where she is at the moment and she might also come up with the goods in Tokyo.

Queen of the track herself, Blessing Okagbare, will also be targeting a spot in the final when she runs in the semifinal, also on the same day.
The semi-final races will get underway at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the top two from each of the races progressing to the final alongside the two fastest ‘losers.’

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