Reigning World U20 400m champion Imaobong Nse Uko failed to live up to her rising profile, crashing out of the women’s 400m at the first hurdle the same evening another ‘Nigerian’, Rhasidat Adeleke produced a brilliant performance to advance to the 400m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on Sunday.
While Nse Uko ran 52.80 seconds to finish eighth in heat four, Adeleke ran 51.59 seconds, her second fastest time over the distance so far this year to finish second in the same heat.
The race was won by Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic in 50.76.
The ‘original’ Nigerian had been nursing an undisclosed injury after running 51.89 seconds to exit the 400m stage at the semifinal stage at the NCAA Division 1 championships last month while Adeleke believes she could have done better.
“I got out a little too slow and I fell asleep,” said Adeleke, who powered around the third bend to elevate herself into one of the top-three automatic qualifying positions.
“I just made sure that by the 350 mark I was in contention and then I was able to shut it down a bit. I didn’t want to strain too much.”
While Adeleke will now have two days to rest and return to action on Wednesday night for the 400m semi-finals where she has been drawn in the first heat, Nse Uko’s World Championships has ended.
By Dare Esan
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