Nigerian sprinter, Enoch Adegoke, has used the biggest platform in sports, the Olympics to join the exclusive club of sub-10 seconds runners after running 9.98 seconds to win his first-round heat and also book his place in the semi-finals of the 100m event in Tokyo.
Adegoke also becomes the 11th Nigerian in history to run a sub 10.
He ran a historic 10.00 seconds in June to win the national title but was under pressure to match the impressive performance of Grace Nwokocha in the women’s 100m after both dominated the Nigerian local athletics circuit like never before, and the 21-year-old lived up to expectations.
He won heat 2 in style, beating the fastest man in the world this year and seventh fastest of all-time, United States Trayvon Brommel who topped the pre-Games world list with the 9.77 seconds he ran last month in Florida.
Also through to the semi-final was Ushoritse Itshekiri who finished third in his first-round heat while Nigeria’s third entrant in the event, Divine Oduduru, was disqualified for false starting.
Adegoke has been drawn against the same athletes he defeated – Brommel, Nigeria-born Qatari, Femi Ogunode, and Britain’s Zhana Hughes, in the second semi-final heat.
Itshekiri, on the other hand, will run in the first semi-final and has been drawn against four sprinters who have ducked inside 10 seconds this season, led by Canada’s Andre De Grasse.
Both Nigerians will be looking to become the next duo that will make the final of the event at the games after Davidson Ezinwa and Olapade Adeniken did in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Nwokocha failed to advance to the women’s 100m final after finishing fifth in her semi-final heat with a time of 11.10 seconds performance, the second in two days.
Her time of 11:00 seconds from Friday’s heat made her the fifth-fastest Nigerian woman in history.
The 20-year-old’s performance has been remarkable after becoming the fastest Nigerian-based athlete since Mercy Nku ran 11.04 seconds in 1997 in Benin City.