Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru looks set to become the first Nigerian athlete to win the Bowerman Award, the USA collegiate track & field’s highest honour when the winner is announced next week.
The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009 and is named after former University of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, is presented annually by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the USA.
In June, Oduduru raced into American collegiate history books as the first Nigerian male sprinter and second Nigerian ever after Blessing Okagbare (2010), to be shortlisted for the award.
Oduduru cemented his status as one of the greatest sprinters in American collegiate history at the National Collegiate of Athletics Association (NCAA) Division 1 Outdoor Championships.
The Texas Tech University graduate capped an undefeated outdoor season in the 100m and the 200m with a pair of blistering marks to sweep the NCAA titles.
Oduduru scorched to a 9.86 seconds finish in the 100m and a Nigerian record-shattering 19.76 seconds in the 200m for times that both fall in as the second best performances in collegiate history by .04 seconds.
Not only that, but those marks gave Oduduru the second fastest one-day double in those events in world history. On top of that, Oduduru went sub-10 seconds and sub-20 seconds on the same day on three different occasions this year to become just the second man to ever accomplish that feat multiple times in a single year.
Indoors, Oduduru won the NCAA title in the 200m and notched the second fastest time in American collegiate history and Nigeria’s all time best in the 200m of 20.08 seconds a few weeks earlier.
The Nigerian will battle for The Bowerman Award with the duo of Louisiana State University’s Mondo Duplantis who unified the collegiate pole vault records and captured his lone NCAA title during the indoor season, and Florida State University’s Grant Holloway who, with his nomination becomes the fourth man in the history of The Bowerman to be a finalist in multiple years, joining Edward Cheserek, Ashton Eaton and Lawi Lalang.