Divine Oduduru earns qualification to 200m semis in Doha

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Divine Oduduru earned a non-automatic qualification spot to the semi-finals of the men’s 200m after clocking 20.40s to finish 4th in Heat 1 of the event at the World Athletics Championships in Doha on Sunday evening.

There came huge relief to Team Nigeria’s camp when the news broke that the IAAF has reinstated the ex-Texas Tech star and Blessing Okagbare back in the Championships after accepting the Nigerian duo’s appeal against their earlier disqualification.

The Delta-born speedsters faced expulsion from the competition as both failed to start 100m heats, breaching the IAAF rules. The duo however submitted an appeal on account that they have informed the Nigerian federation of their unavailability for the event even before the Championships, and fortunately it was accepted.

Putting aside the drama in the past 24 hours, Oduduru took up the challenge of facing defending champion Ramil Guliyev from Turkey and red-hot Adam Gemili from Great Britain in Heat 1.

The NCAA Champion took to a bright start but slightly dropped pace in the last 100m, allowing Holland’s Taymir Burnet nick the last automatic spot in the heat. However, Oduduru’s 20.40s was just enough to earn him a fastest losers spot.

About half an hour later, Emmanuel Arowolo got outshined in Heat 5, clocking 21.07s to finish 7th in a race Canada’s Aaron Brown with 20.10s.

Oduduru will be hope to be back to his best when he comes up against the likes of Yohan Blake, Zharnel Hughes and Andre De Grasse in the semis on Monday evening.

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