By Dare Esan In Beijing:
New Nigeria 200m sensation, Tega Odele, won’t be having the psychological trauma of running alongside either world record holder in the event, the undisputed king of sprint Usain Bolt or the fastest man this year at 19.57 seconds, Justin Gatlin, of the USA.
The Nigerian, who ran 20.47 seconds, the fastest 200m time by a Nigerian since 2004 to win his first national title will be making his IAAF debut here in Beijing and will be running in heat two of the first round which gets underway on Tuesday.
Odele will fancy his chances of being among the three automatic qualifiers if he could repeat his 20.47 seconds feat of Warri here at the magnificient Bird’s Nest stadium here in Beijing.
He will fight for that automatic slot with some notable names like Holland’s Churandy Martinez, off form Frenchman Christopher Lemaitre and fellow African Tatenda Tsumba of Zimbabwe who has actually run faster (20.46 seconds) than Odele this season.
Bolt has been drawn in the next heat while Gatlin who failed in his bid to topple the Jamaican in the 100m will start another mission to dethrone Bolt in the 200m in heat four.
Meanwhile Patience Okon George has been drawn in a tough semi-final heat in the women’s 400m which will also be run on Tuesday.
George will contest the two automatic slots on offer with 2007 world champion, Nigeria-born Briton Christine Ohuruogu, USA’s Phyllis Francis who has run 50.52 seconds this season, as well as Jamaica’s Stephan-Ann Mcpherson who holds a personal season’s best of 50.34.