Ofili: How I Raced Into Nigeria and NCAA History Books

Recalls instructions from her coach before the race

Favour Ofili says she executed the race plan mapped out by her Louisiana State University head coach Dennis Shaver to the letter and the result was the multitude of feats in addition to the Nigerian and collegiate records she set on Friday at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, USA.

The 19 year old not only shattered her school record of 22.04s held by Dawn Sowell since 1989 but also the 22.02s collegiate record set by Kyra Jefferson at the 2017 NCAA Championships.

She also became only the second woman in African history to go sub 22 seconds in the 200m, joining Olympic silver medalist Christine Mboma of Namibia (21.78s.).

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.

The World U20 200m bronze medallist’s lifetime best of 21.96s also broke Blessing Okagbare’s Nigerian national record of 22.04 that had stood since 2018.

“My body felt great going into the race,” Ofili said after her record setting performance. “Coach {Dennis} Shaver told me before the race to just ‘Stay relaxed and execute the race plan’, and that’s what I did.

“I can’t really recall too much of the race because it was such a blur, but I knew I was the first to cross the finish line by a wide margin. When I saw the time, I was very happy and excited because it was an expectation that came to pass on God’s word proclaimed in my life. I give all the credit and glory to God.”

Ofili’s time also qualifies her for the 2022 World Athletics Championships that will take place in Eugene, Oregon this July and the Nigerian will be considered one of the favourites to make the finals in the event.

She has also qualified for the 100m event at World Athletics’ flagship event in Oregon.

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