Fast-rising Nigerian sprinter, Divine Oduduru is set for his debut in the IAAF Diamond League this Friday, backed by the motivation of sterling victories on the tracks in United Staes of America, plus his emergence last weekend as men’s winner of the 2019 Bowerman Award 2019.
Oduduru gained a huge citation and lofty exaltation from the authorities at the school he is about to leave in United States of America, as the athletics body of Texas Tech University are celebrating his award.
Although Oduduru has already disclosed that he will not go for his final year at the institution, as he wants to turn professional this year, Texas Tech are still identifying with him and reeled out superlatives for the Delta State-born athlete, after he emerged as latest custodian of the highest honor in USA’s National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) track and field.
Oduduru will now receive a commemorative plaque on December 19 at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida, after he won the keenly-contested award by garnering the highest number of fans votes.
In topping the men’s finalists, Oduduru got 48.8 per cent votes to emerge first, which broke the existing voting records of the USTFCCCA, followed by Grant Holloway of Florida with 32.7 per cent in second and LSU’s star, Mondo Duplantis emerged third with 18.5 per cent votes.
While Oduduru gets his Alma-Marta school’s lavish accolades for winning the men’s gong, Texas Tech equally celebrate the female category, which goes to Sha’Carri Richardson of LSU, after amassing 61.7 per cent of the votes.
The statement read in part, “Divine Oduduru of Texas Tech and Sha’Carri Richardson of LSU were crowned champions of The Bowerman Fan Vote in 2019 and have a head start on the rest of the competitors.”
In the wake of the award, Oduduru is now set to make his debut in the high-profile IAAF Diamond League this Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland, ahead of wghich he says he believes it will be a healthy launching point for his career as a professional athlete.
After taking the bold decision to skip his final year at Texas Technology University and run for pay, the youngster, who finished second behind Usain Bolt in one of the 2016 Olympic Games heats in Rio de Jenairo, Brazil, added that Friday’s meet would be the chance for him to formally announce his arrival to the world.
The Delta State-born gazelle, who was undefeated all through the outdoor season, will compete in the 200m this Friday alongside Noah Lyles and Andre De Grasse for the biggest honour, with his sight set on the ambition of a better outing at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Ahead of his pro-debut, Oduduru said he wants to use his senior year at Texas Tech to pursue the collegiate sprints records in the 100 and 200m, even as he helped The Red Raiders win their first national championship.
Although Oduduru has not signed a professional contract, Tech coach, Wes Kittley noted that, based on his conversations with agents, the lad could expect five-year offers worth $300,000 to $500,000 a year.
After talking over his future with his coaches, though, Oduduru agreed that it was time to move on to bigger stages and the whiz-kid, who also wins over fans with his celebratory dances, said he will give up his senior year to turn professional on the global athletics’ tracks.
Oduduru admiitted: “It’s a tough one. This is my family. This has been my home. And you deciding to leave your home and go see the world.
“It’s a difficult one, but sometimes it’s the choice you have to make. I talked about it.
“We have a discussion with the coaches and everything, and they were like, ‘It’s time for you to go.’
“Life is really not that easy for us back home. That is one thing I use as my goal to push myself.
“I need to get to that stage where I can be able to help my family. That is part of my motivation.”