Enoch Adegoke’s bid to become the first Nigerian athlete to retain the National Sports Festival 100m title in the last decade and a half will face a huge challenge from Divine Oduduru who is staging a comeback to the sport since his last appearance in August 2021 at the Tokyo Olympics.
Adegoke, bronze medalist in the blue ribband event at the 19th edition of the event in 2018 in Abuja stormed home first three years later (2021) at the 20th edition in Benin City, Edo state, beating his friend and brother, Alaba Akintola by the narrowest of margins (10.28 to 10.29).
The 22 year old who four months later arrived Tokyo, Japan as the reigning National Sports Festival fastest man to make history as the first Nigerian in 25 years to run in the 100m final at the Olympics is, like Oduduru, also seeking a return to the limelight after injury cut short his geometrical rise in status.
Adegoke, like he did in 2021 will be competing for Edo state and his greatest threat to retaining his 100m title will be Delta state athlete, Oduduru who holds a 9.86 seconds personal best in the event and was seen as the new king of the sprint events after he successfully completed a sprints double at the NCAA Championships in June 2019, runing inside 10 seconds (9.86) in the 100m and 20 seconds (19.73) in the 200m on the same day.
Oduduru has not competed in the event since he was disqualified in one of the first round heats at the Tokyo Olympics at the end of July, 2021 and has not competed in any event since he ran 20.16 to place third in the first semifinal of the 200m event at the Tokyo Games in August 2021.
While Adegoke will be seeking for his third blue ribband event medal in three appearances, Oduduru will be seeking for his first as he makes his debut in the 100m event in the competition.
With the pedigree of both athletes and Oduduru’s vow on his facebook page to make a historic return to the track, the 10.13 seconds 100m National Sports Festival record set by Tony Ogbeta in the first round heat in Makurdi, Benue state looks to be one of the first records that will be broken on the new tartan track at the
Stephen Keshi stadium in Asaba.
Meanwhile, the athletics event of the 21st National Sports Festival will now start on Sunday, 4th of December instead of the Saturday, 3rd of December earlier scheduled.