Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru has been handed the opportunity to prove he has the big occasion temperament following his re-admission to the IAAF Diamond League stage barely six weeks after his misadventure to the EBS Herculis in Monaco where he came in last (10.26 seconds) in the 100m event.
The reigning NCAA double sprint king has been listed to race in the 200m on Saturday at the Meeting De Paris, the 12th leg of the 14 leg IAAF Diamond League series.
Oduduru has been listed to compete against Noah Lyles, the fastest man over the distance so far this year at 19.50 seconds and the fourth fastest of all time.
The Nigerian who holds a personal best of 19.73 seconds, the third fastest time this year which he ran to win the 200m title at the 2019 NCAA Championship will also battle reigning world champion in the half lap, Turkey’s Ramil Ruliyev who holds a personal season’s best of 19.99 seconds he ran to win in Doha at the opening leg of the competition; Ecuador’s Alex Nonez who is coming to the race with a 19.87 seconds personal best, Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre who is yet to break 20 seconds in the event so far this year and South Africa’s Clarence Munyai who scorched to an incredible 19.69 seconds finish last year in Pretoria, South Africa but has not broken 20 seconds so far this year.
A win for Oduduru on Saturday can catapult him to the final of the event at the AG Memmorial Van Damme in Brussels, Belgium provided Munya finishes below fifth as he will be tied on eight points with Michael Norman of the USA who ran the second fastest time in the event so far this year (19.70 seconds) to win at the Golden Gala in Rome last June.
Two Nigerians have however qualified for the finals of their events. Blessing Okagbare will be running in the finals of the 200m in Zurich on the 29th of this month and in Brussels on the sixth of September while sprint hurdler, Tobi Amusan will compete in the final of the 100m hurdles in Brussels.