Five Nigerian Women To Watch Out For At The NCAA Outdoor Season

Ofili expected to break 21.96 200m record, Chukwuma tipped to run inside 11 seconds again

The 2023 indoor season has come and gone with Favour Ofili the biggest Nigerian performer. The 20 year old set a new 22.11 Nigeria and African 200m indoor record and also ran a new 7.14 lifetime best in the 60m.

She capped her impressive indoor season with a silver medal win at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

With the collegiate outdoor season beginning this weekend, Sportsnow looks at five Nigerian collegiate athletes many are expecting great performances from…

Favour Ofili (100, 200m):
Ofili will surely be the athlete many Nigerians will be rooting for to make the podium in June at the NCAA Outdoor Championships scheduled to hold at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas on the campus of the University of Texas.

The pretty sprinter delivered at the indoor version with her silver medal finish and she will be expected to go overcome the challenge that will be posed by ‘home girl’, Julien Alfred and race a step further than her indoor feat.

Alfred ran 22.10 to beat the Nigerian to the half lap gold in New Mexico and the Saint Lucia athlete will be hoping home advantage (the NCAA outdoor championships is holding in her school) will also help her complete an indoor and outdoor 200m double.

Ofili was second in the championships over the distance last year despite running 22.05 in the final.

Abby Steiner broke 22 seconds (21.80) to win the gold. The Nigerian however has also broken 22 seconds in the event (21.96) and like she did indoors, Nigerians are expecting her to run faster than the 21.96 she ran at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Florida last April.

Rosemary Chukwuma (100m, 200m):
Chukwuma surprised with her geometrical rise in the 60m event indoors, running 7.09 to become the seventh Nigerian to break 7.10 in the event.

Attention will surely be on the 21 year old to translate that incredible performance to the 100m outdoors where she will expected to prove the 10.99 she ran at the semifinal stage of the NCAA outdoor championships last June was not by happenstance.

Thrice an excessive tail wind denied her three races inside 11 seconds and the former African Youth and U20 100/200m champion will be hoping to beat the wind and the clock legally this time around and be a consistent 10.9.. or even 10.8 runner.

The Texas Tech University student will also be aiming to become the second Nigerian woman after Favour Ofili to break 22 seconds in the 200m event. She holds a 22.33 lifetime best she ran in the event last May in Lubbock, Texas.

Imaobong Nse Uko (400m):

Imaobong failed to fulfill expectations as the heiress to Falilat Ogunkoya after her failure to deliver in the collegiate circuit in her first season and was almost written off by Nigerians until she dropped a 52.19 performance in February, the sixth fastest in the Nigerian all-time list indoors.

Will the 18 year old former World U20 400m queen finally deliver and become the eighth Nigerian to break 51 seconds outdoors? Only Imaobong can answer that question albeit the signal is clear which direction she is heading to.

Ella Onojuvwevwo (400m):
The competition between Ella Onojuvwevwo and Imaobong Nse Uko in the NCAA collegiate circuit can only bring out the best in the duo.

Soon after the Delta state born Onojuvwevwo ran a new 52.61 lifetime best in her first time running indoors, Nse Uko replied with a 52.19 performance.

Onojuvwevwo, at just 17 is seen as the future of the event and she will need to prove this outdoors.

Can she race past Nse Uko to become the first to break 51 seconds for the first time by a Nigerian athlete since Patience Okon George ran 50.71 eight years ago?

Tima Godbless (100m):
‘ World Class Sprinter Tima Godbless Signs with the Tigers’. This was how Louisiana State University, LSU, headlined the capture, as it were, of Tima Godbless.

The 19 year old is expected to run for the school this summer and much will be expected from the Bayelsa state athlete. Will she live up to expectation?

Tima’s 2022 season can provide a part of the answer. She began the season with an 11.51 run in March, just three hundreth of a second faster than her lifetime best achieved in 2021.

Three months later, she broke 11.30 for the first time in her career, running 11.25 at the African Athletics Championships in Mauritius.

If you think that was incredible, then wait for this: Tima left Birmingham as a member of the Nigerian contingent to the Commonwealth Games for the World U20 championships in Cali, Colombia.

She arrived Cali on the eve of the championships and in her very first race stormed to an astonishing 11.09 performance.

The 19 year old seems destined for the top, especially after successfully completing a sprint double at the 21st National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta state last December.

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