Nigeria’s Raymond Ekevwo has breezed into the men’s 100m semi-final at the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Ekevwo, who emerged as Africa’s fastest man in Rabat a few weeks back, finished 2nd in his heat on Friday with a time of 10.14s (-0.8m/s) to become the only Nigerian athlete in the next round.
Ekevwo was in Heat 8 along with top names like Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain. But he gave a good account of himself with a good race from lane 8 finishing well, not afar off in 2nd place to ensure that he went through.
Hughes won the race in 10.08s while Emmanuel Matadi of Liberia copped 3rd place in 10.19s.
Another Nigerian, Usheoritse Itsekiri, in his heat, finished in a disappointing 7th position despite registering a good start out of the blocks and momentarily leading a field that had the likes of Justin Gatlin in it.
Gatlin won the race in 10.06s (-0.8m/s) ahead of Andre de Grasse who clocked 10.13s while Adam Gemili ran 10.19s in 3rd.
There was more heartbreak for Nigeria as far as the 100m race was concerned as the country’s fastest athlete in recent times, Divine Oduduru, made a late withdrawal from heat 5 of the men’s 100m, having a Did Not Start (DNS) after being registered to run.
It was gathered that Oduduru made a late decision to concentrate solely on the 200m race and let go of the 100m.
Though failing to sparkle at the last African Games in Morocco as widely expected, Oduduru is the joint 2nd fastest man in the world this year with a Personal Best of 9.86s in the 100m.
The semi-final races of the 100m men’s event will take place on Saturday.
Another Nigerian athlete, Blessing Okagbare, has also pulled out of the 100m to concentrate on the 200m and the 4X100m relay.