By Sab Osuji In Brazzaville:
Photo By Ganiyu Yusuf:
Nigeria sprinter, Divine Oduduru, believes West African neighbours, Ivory Coast, are not better than Nigeria in athletics especially in 100m and 200m races.
Ivory Coast coasted home with the two gold medals in the men’s 100m and 200m events at the 11th All Africa Games here in Congo through Hua Koffy Wilfried, leaving the silver medal in the 200m to Oduduru.
CIV repeated similar feat in the women’s category of the same events.
Oduduru told completesportsnigeria.com moments after his 200m silver finish that the fact that Ivory Coast dominated those events at the All Africa Games does not mean they are better than Nigeria in athletics.
“Ivory Coast are not better than Nigeria,” Oduduru declared with an air of confidence.
“They dominated the two events but that does not mean they are better than Nigeria in athletics.
“We lost both races because we committed a little error and they capitalised on it to win.”
Completesportsnigeria.com recalls that Oduduru won silver in the 200m with a personal best time of 20.45 secs.
Oduduru is one of Nigeria’s sprinters expected to represent the new face of athletics in Nigeria like Blessing Okagbare, Mary Onyali, Endurance Ojokolo and Falilat Ogunkoya.
He admitted but said such expectations are rather a challenge for him to work harder.
“It’s not a burden to me, instead, it is a challenge for me to work hard because my country is expecting something good from me.
“Just like Usain Bolt, the way his country and the world are expecting something from him.
“Also, my country should be expecting something from me. So, such expectation is not a burden for me at all.
“It’s something that should motivate me, something for me to just pull myself together and ensure that I deliver.
“I should not allow that to be a kind of pressure for me, instead, I should see it as motivation for me to get the best out of myself”, Oduduru stressed.
He told completesportsnigeria.com that he has no regret not winning the gold medal in the 200m men event at the All Africa Games.
“We, I had all that it takes to win the gold medal. But for me, not winning the 200m gold medal is not something strange.
“He got the opportunity and and utilized it.”
Oduduru also disclosed that he should have done much better in the race.
“In every championship, every athlete is expected to do his best. I did my best. I ran my personal best but I believe I should have done much better.
“Right from the outset, I lost the race so he grabbed the opportunity and made use of it.”
With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games around the corner, the Nigerian sprinter said he hopes to use it to join the league of top rated Nigeria and global athletics super stars.
“Yes, I can. I believe in athletics nothing is impossible. Everything is about opportunity when you get the opportunity, make good use of it.
“(Usain) Bolt got the opportunity and made use of it and today the whole world is talking and hearing about him.
“He happens to be my mentor. I know that one day I’ll get there. We have a good number of great athletes from Nigeria who have touched the roof of their athletics careers.
“Great athletes like Endurance Ojokolo, Mary Onyali, Blessing Okagbare and others.
“If all these great names in athletics could come out of Nigeria, I know that I, Divine Oduduru, will do my best to come out also.”