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2023 NCAA Div 1 Indoor Championships: Ofili tipped to win 200m gold

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Nigeria’s Favour Ofili has been tipped to win her first major collegiate title this weekend despite coming to the 2023 NCAA Division 1 indoor championships as the second fastest (22.36) behind Julien Alfred of University of Texas (22.26).

In his pre-championships preview and predictions on the official website of the NCAA, Stan Becton tips the 20 year old Ofili to upset Alfred.

‘While the fastest 200-meter time this season belongs to Alfred, I still think Favour Ofili wins the 200 meters.

‘Ofili specializes in the 200 meters, finishing second place in the 200 finals during the 2022 indoor and outdoor seasons. 2023 will be the year Ofili grabs her first 200 title,’ wrote Becton.

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The NCAA reporter who has covered several NCAA championships (indoors and out) however tips Alfred to race home to gold in the 60m ahead of the Nigerian trio of Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Ezinne Abba.

Becton wrote: ‘Julien Alfred owns the seven fastest times run by a collegiate woman in the 60 meters all-time. Six of those times came this season. She’s the only right prediction here.’

The Sports journalist does not however see Favour Ashe swapping the bronze medal he won last year in the 60m for gold this year.

Instead, he believes Texas Tech’s Terrence Jones will win the gold medal.

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”Guess who’s back? Back again. That would be 60 meter collegiate record holder Terrence Jones who reminded everyone of what he could do on the track with a 6.48-second finish in the Big 12 semifinals.

‘Jones knocked off the rust at the Big 12 Championships, and I think he’ll be plenty warmed up at the indoor championships,’ Becton predicted.

Nigeria’s duo of Udodi Onwuzurike and Alaba Akintola will neither win nor make the podium in the men’s 200m event, according to Becton who does not see a clear favourite in the event.

”The 200 meters could come down to lane draws and who wins in their heat with the fastest times. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the top six entrants win the 200, but my pick is Florida’s Jacory Patterson. Patterson seems to be peaking at the right time, winning the SEC title, and his decision to scratch from the 400 meters will bode well in the 200 meters.”

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Onwuzurike and Akintola do not feature in the top six. While the former, a former World U20 200m champion is ranked 13th best out of the 16 entrants courtesy of the 20.56 he ran this season, the latter is just outside in 14th (20.59).

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