August 01, (THEWILL) – The hard work that Nigeria’s sprinter Enoch Adegoke put into getting ready for the challenge of the best dash athletes in the world paid off handsomely in Sunday’s semi-finals of the men’s 100 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan as he ran a 10.00s race to qualify for the final in second place.
Top medal favourite and current fastest man in the world, after setting the fastest 100m time of the year at 9.77s, Trayvon Bromell missed out on the final completely, as Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes won his semi-final while China’s Su Bingtian qualified fastest in semi-final 3.
Hughes qualified automatically after his surprise win in the second semi-final. He crossed the finish line in 9.98s, which was only 0.02s ahead of Enoch Adegoke of Nigeria. Although Bromell finished with 10.00s flat in the same heat and same time with Adegoke, the American was eliminated in a major upset in the 100m gold race.
Ahead of this sprints, Bromell was highly considered among the leading contenders to take gold as men’s sprinting ushers in a new era at an Olympics without Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin for a long time. But, the American looked out of sorts in the heats.
Yet, credit must go to Adegoke for running a splendid race off his marks. He turned on the after-burners as the seconds ticked off, accelerating ever competitively. But, the Nigerian won it in the final fraction of the 10th second by dipping more effectively to earn second place by the barest of margins in 10 seconds equal finish with Bromell.
Meanwhile in the first semi-final, American Fred Kerley, a former 400m runner, edged out Canada’s Andre De Grasse to take the win in a time of 9.96s. The Canadian, a strong contender for a medal, was just two one-hundredths of a second behind.
Just like Divine Oduduru, Nigeria’s favourite for a medal in the dash races, British athlete Reece Prescod allowed his nerves to get the better of him and false started to earn himself a dismissal.
While South Africa’s Akani Simbine time of 9.90s earned him a fourth place finish to be in the second qualifying spot as a fastest loser, Nigeria’s other medal hopeful, Usheoritse Itsekiri was left in 7th place behind everyone else as he unfortunately pulled a muscle that forced him to fall out of contention.
Semi-final three had a masterful run by the Chinese sprinter Su, as he set a new personal best and an Asian record with his storming performance in that third semi-final, which he won in 9.83s, well under the 10 seconds time range.
He was pushed to the line by Ronnie Baker, also setting a lifetime best with the same time as Su, and Marcell Jacobs, whose 9.84 was a European record for the Italian.
The final field of athletes has no clear favourite and it so happens that for the first time in a long while, any of the eight athletes through to the final will count themselves as realistic medal contenders especially with Bromell out and no Bolt or Gatlin.