The impending battle between Louisiana State University, LSU’s Favour Ofili and University of Texas’ Julien Alfred will be one of the eatured highlights of this weekend’s 2023 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championships at the Convention centre in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Like it was last year when the battle was between the then 19 year old Ofili and American, Abby Steiner who denied the Nigerian the chance to win her first major collegiate title, this time around it is Alfred, the 21 year old sprinter from Saint Lucia is proving to be the stumbling block between
Alfred supplanted the Nigerian as the fastest collegiate athlete in 2023 when she ran 22.26 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Lubbock, Texas to cancel out the 22.36 then world leading time Ofili ran 13 days earlier at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Interestingly, Alfred leads 3-0 in the head-to-head contest in the 60m but the duo has never met over the 200m.
The closest they came into meeting was at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the start of February when the Nigerian ran 22.55 to win the first of two finals while Alfred ran 22.56 to win the second final.
Both are in different semifinal heats and are expected to be among the top eight fastest times that will proceed into the first of two finals.
The two athletes will however slug it out first in the 60m event where the Saint Lucia athlete is the overwhelming favourite to win after running 6.99 last month at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Lubbock, Texas last month to become the only athlete in the collegiate circuit this year to run inside seven seconds in the event.
She also owns the six fastest time in the event this year in the NCAA.
The other big battle will be between Irish-Nigeria, Rashidat Adeleke of University of Texas and Florida’s Talitha Diggs who in the women’s 400m.
Diggs, 20, is the defending champion and the fastest athlete over the quatermile coming to the championships with the 50.15 she ran at the SEC Indoor Championships in Fayettevilletowards the end of last year while Adeleke is the second fastest.
The Irish-Nigerian who is the reigning European U20 champion ran 50.33 to win the Big 12 Indoor Championships 400m title in Lubbock the same weekend.
The Conventional Centre in Albuquerque will produce who is better between the two and who will be 2023 NCAA indoor 400m champion barring any surprises, especially from University of Arkansas’ Amber Anning who is the third and final athlete who has broken 51 seconds in the event.