World Athletics Championships: Akintola qualifies in 200m, Ofili faces ‘giants’ in semifinal

U.S.-based sprinter, Alaba Akintola qualified for the next round of the 200m event of the ongoing World Championships in Budapest Hungary on Wednesday.

Running in lane 6 of Heat 7, Akintola finished third in 20.45sec to advance. The Tennessee-based sprinter, with a Personal Best of 20.26sec and Season Best of 20:43 secs, made the cut following the disqualification of France’s Ryan Zeze in the race.

The men’s 200m heat continues on Thursday at 22:15 pm.

Earlier, U.S.-based Favour Ofili picked her ticket to run in her second straight 200m semifinal on Thursday after running 22.66secs in her first round to qualify as one of the six nonautomatic qualifiers.

The Nigerian came fourth in her first-round heat and her time, the second fastest she has run this outdoor season, topped the list of the six nonautomatic qualifiers.

Ofili holds the Nigerian 200m record indoors (22.11) and outdoors (21.96) and will need to run close to that to secure her place in the final. Last year, the 20-year-old exited the event at the semifinal stage after running 22.30 to finish third.

In Thursday’s semifinal, Ofili will have to go the extra mile to pick a final ticket, as she handed a tough semifinal draw on Wednesday.

Ofili will need to run close to her 21.96sec lifetime best and Nigeria record to stand a chance of picking one of the two automatic tickets for Friday’s final.

She has been drawn against defending champion, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, who holds a 21.71 personal season’s best, Marie-Josee Talou of Ivory Coast, who has ran 22.26 this season and 100m champion, Shar Carri Richardson of the USA, who set a 21.94 lifetime best this season.

Ofili remains the sixth athlete to have competed in the semifinals of the event after Mary Onyali (1987, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2003), Fatimah Yusuf (1999), Mercy Nku (2003), Blessing Okagbare (2013 and 2019) and Rosemary Chukwuma (2022).

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