Ofili races to new African 200m indoor record, meets Olympic qualifying standard

Nigeria’s Favour Ofili speed to a new Nigeria and African 200m indoor record of 22.75 seconds Saturday night to win at the SEC Indoor Championship at the Randal Tyson Indoor Centre in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA.

The 18 year old broke the 22.80 seconds record set by Ivory Coast’s Muriel Ahoure in 2009 and made history as the first Nigerian sprinter to break 23 seconds in the half lap indoors.

The World Championship 400m semi-finalist served notice of her huge talent in the semi-finals when she clocked a then personal best of 23.15 seconds to qualify for Saturday’s final.

That performance pushed her to number five on the Nigerian all-time list and number six in Africa before speeding into the record books in the final to become number one in Nigerian and African all-time list ahead.

Prior to her incredible run in Fayetteville, Regina George’s 23.00 seconds run in 2013 in Fayetteville had looked to stay for another year at least after Blessing Okagbare came 100th of second short of equalling it early this month in Fayetteville with her 23.01 seconds performance before Ofili chose the same venue to obliterate it from the record books.

Ofili has thus surpassed the 22.80 seconds qualification standard set for the 200m for the Tokyo Olympics holding this summer.

It was generally a good weekend of track and field for Nigerian athletes in the National Collegiate of Athletics Association (NCAA) with Ruth Usoro also surpassing the 14.32m standard for the triple jump after hopping, stepping and jumping to a new 14.38m Nigerian record, surpassing by 10cm the 14.28m she set early this month.

Usoro has not only become the first Nigerian woman to meet the qualification standard for the Olympics in the event but also the first Nigerian woman to meet the standard for both the triple and long jumps after her 6.82m feat a couple of days ago saw her hit the mark for Tokyo.

Shot putter, Isaac Odugbesan was also in great form as he hauled a massive 20.50m personal best in the event to win at the 2021 Indoor Secs. He is now the third Nigerian to throw 20m and more in the Shot Put indoors after Stephen Mozia and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.

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