Udodi Onwuzurike has emerged winner of the 200 meters race event at the 2023 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, United States of America.
The NCAA Track and Field Finals are the ultimate challenge for student athletes in US universities, which have regularly produced some of the world’s best track and field stars.
Onwuzurike, the 20-year-old representing Stanford University, won the gold medal in the men’s 200 meters, one of the most high-profile events of the finals.
He won in an impressive new personal best time of 19.84 seconds and became the first Nigerian to win the 200 meters men’s title since Divine Oduduru in 2019.
In the tight final, Courtney Lindsey of Texas Tech finished second in 19.86 seconds, with Terrence Jones, also of Texas Tech, claiming bronze in 19.87 seconds.
Onwuzurike, the 2021 World Athletics Under-20 Championships gold medallist in the 200 meters, was however not as dominant in the 100 meters.
Onwuzurike finished sixth in a time of 9.98 seconds, with his compatriot Favour Ashe coming eighth in 10.02 seconds.
It was in that same men’s 100 meters of the 2023 NCAA Championships that Godson Brume shone, claiming the silver medal in a new personal best time of 9.90 seconds, which is the third fastest ever by a Nigerian, behind Olusoji Fasuba’s 9.85 seconds and Oduduru’s 9.86 seconds.
20-year-old Brume, representing the Louisiana State University, also became the fastest Nigerian athlete this year with his time.
Lindsey, who claimed silver in the 200 meters, won the 100 meters gold just ahead of Brume in 9.89 seconds, while Shaun Maswanganyi was third in 9.91 seconds.
Nigeria’s Nathaniel Ezekiel also won a medal at the NCAA Finals, bagging the bronze medal for Baylor University in the 400 meters hurdles in 48.54 seconds.
Chris Robinson of Alabama won gold in 48.12 seconds, while Corde Long, also of Alabama, claimed silver in 48.53 seconds.