Nigerian sprinter and athlete-student of the Texas Tech University, Divine Oduduru, has set records at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship in Austin and becomes Africa’s second fastest man.
He won the 100-meter race in 9.86 seconds on June 7, only a second behind Nigerian Olusoji Fasuba who continues to hold the record of Africa’s fastest man with 9.85 seconds achieved 13 years ago in Doha.
45 minutes after the 100-meter history, Oduduru also broke the NCAA Championship record in the 200-meter race with 19.73 seconds which is the third fastest in the world this year. This also breaks the Nigerian record of 20.13 which he has held since 2018.
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22-year-old Divine Oduduru is a five-time African Junior Champion and was the 2014 World Junior Silver Medallist in the 200 metres. He was the gold medalist in both the 100 metres and 200 metres at the 2013 African Youth Athletics Championships.
Oduduru was born in Ughelli, Delta State in Nigeria and is a junior at Texas Tech University. He is currently ranked 27th in the world in Men’s 100m discipline and 13th in Men’s 200m discipline by the IAAF.
He became popular as a YouTube sensation after he gave hilarious and entertaining post-race interviews at the 2013 World U18 Championships in Donetsk which were also used as memes. In the interviews, the 16-year-old referenced the 200m final as being “a deadly day”.
Oduduru grew up in abject poverty as the youngest of 10 children in the village of Ovworo where he helped his father on a small farm. His talent was unearthed when he run in high school after years of running from trouble.
“Life was really tough. For everyone, it was a struggle to survive. We walked to and from school and some days I didn’t eat, I was starving. It is only when I came home to the farm I get something to eat like Gari (cassava flour),” he told IAAF in an interview.
“I knew that I wanted to create a platform for myself and I was determined not to end up the same way as others,” he explains. “This was a big motivation. I told my mum (Christiana) that I will not go to school in Nigeria and that someday I will travel. She always believed in my dreams.”
Watch the video of his record-breaking performance in Austin below: