Two days ago (June 7), Nigerians celebrated the one-year anniversary of the incredible achievements Divine Oduduru achieved in Austin, Texas, USA, where he not only made history as the second Nigerian and the third African man to successfully complete a double sprint in the history of the NCAA Championship, his legal performances against the wind are also in second place in the history of the NCAA.
But, is Oduduru the fastest Nigerian of all time? That honor belongs to Olusoji Fasuba, who ran 9.85 seconds in Doha 14 years ago. So where is Oduduru's 9.86 seconds on Nigeria's all time list? Complete Sports' DARE ESAN takes a look at the 10 fastest Nigerian men of all time at the blue belt event.
1. Olusoji Fasuba (9.85)
Fasuba is the fastest man in Nigeria and has been in May 2006, when he achieved his first under 9.90 performance by a Nigerian sprinter. Nigeria's 100m champion in 2006 and 2007, the sprinter born in the state of Ekiti is the second Nigerian man (after Uchenna Emedolu) to win a world sprint title after his success in the 60m event at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain in 2008.
He was also a member of the 4x100m bronze-winning Nigeria quartet at the 2004 Athens Olympics in Greece.
Fasuba remains the only man on the African continent to win the 100m gold medal in the African Championship three times in a row and his 9.85 second run 14 years ago is still an African record.
2. Divine Oduduru (9.86)
Oduduru ran for history books last year, in June, when he became the second Nigerian sprinter to stay 9.90 seconds in the 100m court, with his impressive 9.86 second gold run at the National Athletics Associations Championship ( NCAA) in Austin, Texas. He also won 200m gold in another impressive 19.73 seconds to equal the double sprint feat with another Nigerian, Olapade Adeniken, who performed on the same field in 1992 in the same competition.
Despite his exciting performance last year, Oduduru still awaits his first national title in the 100m.
3. Seun Ogunkoya (9,92)
A Nigerian sprinter who failed to reach his full potential, Ogunkoya was one of the most feared sprinters in 1998, the year in which he gained international prominence like lightning.
A 10.15 second runner two years earlier, Ogunkoya noticed a star under construction in 1997, when he broke 10 seconds for the first time, running 9.97 seconds at a meeting in Formia, Italy.
He came to the international reckoning in 1998, when he overcame Frankie Fredericks in the Weltklasse Golden League in Zurich, stopping the clock in 9.96 seconds, a new personal record.
Ogunkoya was not yet finished. BEle was clearly the man to win at the African Championship in Dakar, Senegal that year, and he did not disappoint by setting a new personal record of 9.94 seconds to retain the title, he was running 10.45 seconds to win the first attempt two years earlier , at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde, Cameroon. The time equaled Nigeria's record of 100 million set four years earlier.
He was the fit man at the IAAF World Athletics Cup (now World Athletics) (now Continental Cup) in Johannesburg, South Africa later that year. However, he did not live up to expectations, as his new personal record of 9.92 seconds and the Nigerian record were only good enough for second place, behind Obadele Thompson (9.87 seconds) from Barbados.
Ogunkoya was the national king of the 100m in 1997 and 1998.
4. Davidson Ezinwa (9.94)
Certainly one of the most talented sprinters Nigeria has ever seen, Ezinwa was hailed as Nigeria's next major athletics event in 1990, when he ran 10.05 seconds to win the 100m event in the Bauchi leg of the AFN Classics competition. Those who thought the performance was by chance were convinced of the 20-year-old talent when, in 1991, he lowered his best staff to 10.04 seconds, this time in Abuja. The question on everyone's lips was when he would become the first Nigerian sprinter to run less than 10 seconds in the event.
He answered the question less than a year later, burning for a new life of 9.96 seconds, better in Walnut, California, USA. However, he was denied the honor of becoming the first Nigerian to break 10 seconds in the blue belt event.
He improved his personal best from 100m to 9.94 in Linz, Austria, in 1994, to become a national record holder at the event, breaking the Olapade Adeniken record of 9.95 seconds, set three months earlier.
Ezinwa was national 100m champion in 1992, 1995 and 1996.
5. Olapade Adeniken (9.95)
Like Davidson Ezinwa, Adeniken showed flashes of a great sprinter in action when he ran 10.16 seconds in Duisburg, Germany in 1989. He went on to run for a personal record of 10.10 seconds the following year. In 1991, he ran again 10.10 seconds of the personal season to show the consistency that would catapualize him for the international reckoning.
In 1992, Adeniken made an indelible mark: he became the first Nigerian to break 10 seconds in the 100m, courtesy of the 9.97 seconds he competed to win the 100m gold in the NCAA finals in Austin, Texas, USA, for the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He ran 20.11 seconds in the 200m in the same competition to successfully complete a sprint duo, which ensured that he became the first Nigerian to achieve the feat in American college championships. .
Adeniken was national 100m champion in 1994.
6. Deji Aliu (9.95)
Deji chose the largest African athletics stage in 2003, the African Games to finally fulfill the promise he first displayed in 1995 in Bauchi, where he ran 10.02 seconds to win the 100m AFN Classics event.
Four years later, precisely in 1999, in Lievin, France, he reached an incredible 6.48 seconds in the 60m indoors. It was the second fastest ever 60m race for an African, arriving the day after Leonard Myles-Mills, from Ghana, ran 6.45 seconds to set an African record in the event.
That year, the Ghanaian dived 10 seconds for the first time in his career, running 9.98 seconds in Boise, Idaho, USA. Deji managed just 10.11 seconds that year in Johannesburg.
He came close to breaking 10 seconds in 2002, when he ran 10.03 seconds in Athens. The 1994 junior world champion finally got his chance in 2003, running 9.98 seconds to win his second consecutive 100m national crown in Abuja. He improved in three hundred seconds a few weeks later, at the African Games in the same location. Interestingly, Deji's 9.95 seconds did not give him the title of national record holder. This honor belonged to Seun Ogunkoya at the time.
7. Raymond Ekevwo (9.96)
Ekevwo surprised Africa last year when he led the Divine Oduduru, the man who a few months earlier had attacked the NCAA with incredible performances, at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco. The feat instantly made him the seventh fastest Nigerian on the list of all time and one of only five Nigerians to win the blue belt in quadrennial games.
8. Francis Obikwelu (9,97)
From the quarter mile in 1994 to the top of the sprints in 1996, Obikwelu quickly became the next star in Nigerian athletics, when he successfully completed a sprint duo at the 1996 Junior World Championship in Sydney, Sydney. However, he left the stage for Seun Ogunkoya, who entered the international game two years later, with some incredible performances.
Obikwelu, however, returned to the race in 1999, running 19.84 seconds in the 200m, the fastest time in the world that year to win a bronze medal at the Seville World Championship in Spain.
The following year, he dived for 10 seconds in the 100m for the first time to become the eighth fastest Nigerian of the event.
Unfortunately, Obikwelu changed his loyalty to Portugal and ran 9.86 seconds and won the 100m Olympic silver for his adopted country.
Obikwelu was Nigeria's 100 million winner in 1999 and 2000.
9. Uchenna Emedolu (9.97)
Aged-born Emedolu was chosen in football, where he was only among coach Tobias Igwe's athletics numbers (now late). He found fame and money, running 10.06 seconds in heavy rain to win a historic gold of 100 million at the 2002 IAAF. (now World Athletics) Athletics World Cup (now Continental Cup) in Madrid, Spain. One year later, he held his only legal sub-10 second race at the African Games in Abuja. His 9.97 second run was improved only by his compatriot, Deji Aliu's 9.95 secures gold.
Emedolu was the national king of the 100m only one and was in 2005, although he won the 200m four times.
10. Daniel Effiong (9.98)
Effiong was the third Nigerian man to run under 10 seconds in the 100m when he raced for 9.98 seconds, trailing Andre Cason (USA) in the semifinal of the fourth IAAF World Championship in Stuttgart Germany.
He would become the first Nigerian to play in the championship final, running 10.04 seconds to finish seventh.
Effiong's 9.98-second performance is also the fastest a Nigerian has run in championship history. That year, he won the 100 million national title.
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