Nigeria’s Favour Ofili Friday at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, USA raced into history books not only as the new Nigeria 200m outdoor record holder but also the first Nigerian woman to run inside 22 seconds over the distance.
The 19 year old ran a blistering 21.96s to break Blessing Okagbare’ 22.04s Nigeria record set in Abilene, Texas in March 2018.
The Louisiana State University, LSU, undergraduate student has now become the second woman after Mary Onyali to hold, at the same time, the Nigerian 200m record indoors and out.
Ofili’s incredible feat on her 200m outdoor debut this year is also a new collegiate record and the fastest time in the world so far this year, supplanting fellow African and Olympic silver medalist, Namibia’s Christine Mboma who ran a 22.12s world lead early last month at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Nigerian also became only the second woman in African 200m history to go under 22 seconds, joining Mboma who owns a personal best of 21.78s.
In addition, Ofili also shattered Dawn Sowell’s LSU school record of 22.04 that had stood since 1989.
The collegiate record was previously held by Florida’s Kyra Jefferson with a time of 22.02 that she ran at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
The time also meets the standard for the 2022 World Athletics Championships that will take place in Eugene, Oregon, during the month of July and Ofili will be considered a favourite to make the finals in the event.
She has now become the second eligible Nigerian sprinter to meet the entry standard for both the 100m and 200m events after Olympics double sprint semifinalist Grace Nwokocha.
Ofili last weekend scorched to a new 11.00s personal best in the 100m to become the fastest African woman so far this year and fourth fastest in the world.
Meanwhile, Nwokocha was also in action on Ofili’s historic day, running 22.89s to finish third in the final classification.
Edidiong Odiong, the Nigeria-born Bahrainian ran 23.32s to finish ninth while Imanuella Aliu (23.81s), Obi Amarachukwu (23.96s) and Knowledge Omovoh (24.04s) finished 29th, 35th and 36th respectively in the final classification.
On Saturday, Rosemary Chukwuma of Texas Tech University will, like Ofili be seeking to translate her impressive indoor season to a memorable outdoor debut in the 100m.
The 20 year old set a new 7.17s personal best in the 60m event and observers expect that to translate to a run inside 11.10 seconds this season and the 2019 African U20 100/200m champion will be hoping to breeze past her 11.18s outdoor best in the event.
For the men, Godson Brume will also make his 200m outdoor debut for Louisiana State University.The 18 year old has been drawn in lane nine of the second heat.
Oghenebrume was awarded with the SEC Freshman Athlete of the Week award after running 10.22s (100m) in his first individual race of his LSU outdoor career last weekend.