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Onwuzurike, U.S.-based athlete, poised to enter professional league

Posted : 08 November 2023
Udodi Onwuzurike, the second fastest 200m sprinter in Nigeria's history, based in the United States, is on the verge of turning professional.

In August, he missed a significant opportunity to compete for the second time in the World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary. This setback was due to his inability to recover from an injury sustained while participating in NCAA events in the United States, despite his impressive earlier performance of 19.76 seconds in the 200m.

In June, Onwuzurike returned to Nigeria to take part in the National Trials and was a member of the country's 4x100m relay team at the African Region 2 competition in Lome, Togo. However, neither he nor another U.S.-based sprinter, Godson Brume, could make it to the Budapest event.

Nevertheless, the former world U-20 champion, who secured the 200m title at the 2023 NCAA outdoor track and field Championships in June, is now embarking on his journey to become a professional athlete. This transition will see him compete in and earn money from prominent events like the Diamond League.

According to a close source, Onwuzurike has put the Budapest disappointment behind him and is performing well in training. There is hope that he might be a noteworthy contender at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, although his availability for the African Games in Ghana remains uncertain unless circumstances change.

The source emphasized the need for the Nigerian Sports Ministry and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to promptly engage with Nigerian athletes in the U.S., as time is running out.

It is worth noting that Onwuzurike made his debut for Team Nigeria at the 2021 World U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, where he achieved global recognition by clinching the 200m gold medal. He also represented Nigeria at the 2022 World Championships in Oregon, United States. Leading up to the Budapest championship, he held the fifth position among the fastest athletes and shared the 26th place in the world's all-time rankings.


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