World Athletics Championships, Budapest 2023: Alaba becomes ninth Nigerian to run in 200m semifinals

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Alaba Olukunle Akintola of Team Nigeria competes during the Men's 200m Round 1 heats on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 04, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Alaba Akintola will run in the 200m semifinals at the ongoing World Athletics Championships after placing third to seal the third automatic qualifying spot in the seventh heat of the first round Wednesday at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary.

The 21 year old has now become the ninth Nigerian man to qualify for the 200m event at World Athletics’ flagship event.

Innocent Egbunike ran all the way to the final at the inaugural edition of th championships in 1983 while the duo of Daniel Effiong and Olopade Adeniken ran in the semifinals in Tokyo, Japan in 1991.

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Deji Aliu followed suit six years later in Athens, Greece before Francis Obikwelu sped all the way to the podium in 1999 to become the first Nigerian to win a medal in the event.

Uchenna Emedolu ran in the semifinals in 2001 (Edmonton, Canada) and 2003 (Paris, France).

It took a whole 16 years to get a Nigerian to run in the semifinals of the event and it was Divine Oduduru, fresh from his double sprint title win at the NCAA that made it happen.

Udodi Onwuzurike, the World U20 champion in 2021 who would have been one of the favourites in Budapest but for injury ran all the way to the semifinals in his debut at the Championships last year in Oregon, USA.

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