Divine Oduduru becomes second fastest African, sets new Nigerian record

Divine Oduduru
Divine Oduduru

The rave of the moment, Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru, is now officially the second fastest African ever, just behind his compatriot and legend Olusoji Fasuba.

Oduduru attained this latest feat after the Texas-based athlete put up another jaw-dropping performance at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships late Friday night.

Oduduru easily won the 100 meters in 9.86 seconds and that is the fastest ever by an African since Fasuba ran a slightly faster time of 9.85 seconds 13 years ago in Doha.

About 45 minutes after his heroics in the 100m, Oduduru won the 200 meters in 19.73 seconds, both times wind-legal.

Though Oduduru was the Nigeria record-holder in the 200m before Friday’s race, he has lowered the record again with his winning time which is third fastest in the world this year.

Oduduru earlier in the week opened up to the IAAF official website in an emotional interview; revealing his grass to grace story.

The sprinter is the youngest of 10 children and he grew up in abject poverty in the small rural village of Ovworo near the town of Ughelli in Southern Nigeria.

Oduduru told the IAAF website that each day he had to help out his father (now late) on the small farm to cultivate crops.

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He said: “Life was really tough. For everyone, it was a struggle to survive. We walked to and from school and some days I didn’t eat, I was starving. It is only when I came home to the farm I get something to eat like Garri (a flour grain).”

Determined to help himself to a better life, he vowed as a youngster to one day haul himself out of the poverty trap.

“I knew that I wanted to create a platform for myself and I was determined not to end up the same way as others,” Oduduru added.

Oduduru has indeed created a platform for himself, hugging the headlines each time he stepped to the tracks.

While he is now a legend as far as collegiate athletics is concerned, Oduduru is already aiming high at the World Championships billed for Doha later this year.

It will not be surprising if Oduduru just like Fasuba over a decade ago set another African record in the oil-rich city.

“I’m definitely thinking of a medal (in Doha) and I’m working towards that goal,” the 22-year old stated.

See video of the 100m win here.

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