Texas Tech track and field’s junior sprinter Divine Oduduru decided to go pro after setting records this season.
Oduduru most notable accomplishment this season was when he ran a 20.08 on the 200m-- the fastest time in the world for this year, according to a Tech Athletics news release. The Delta State, Nigeria, native also earned program top-10 finishes in every 60m and 200m he ran in, according to Tech Athletics.
The junior sprinter placed in the national top-10 at Texas A&M's The Reveille, according to Tech Athletics. Oduduru ran the second-fastest time ever by a college athlete and earned a world lead by running a 9.94 in the 100m and 19.76 in the 200m at Baylor’s Michael Jackson Invitational.
Oduduru kept his hot streak alive at the Big 12 Championships when he earned his second-straight title in the 100m, according to Tech Athletics. Oduduru broke another record with a 9.86 in the 100m and a 19.79 in the 200m. The Nigerian also helped his 4x100m relay team make history as they broke and re-broke the school record four different times.
Sprints and hurdles coach Calvin Robinson said Oduduru is one of the best sprinters in NCAA history. Robinson also said he was the person that recruited Oduduru back in 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games.
“I was able to talk to him during that time and he was on board he was ready to go and it was just getting him here and getting him going,” Robinson said.
When it was time for the junior to decide to go pro or not, Robinson said he was behind Oduduru 100 percent. After grooming the athletes and watching them grow, supporting their decision is the only option, Robinson said.
“You got to support these kids, especially someone who has done what he has done for our program,” Robinson said. “You have no choice but to support them.”
Oduduru will stay in Lubbock to train while he finishes school and graduates in December. The coaches and Oduduru want to be in Lubbock so he can be trained and groomed going into his professional career, Robinson said.
“The plan is to continue to train here and finish his degree in December,” Robinson said. “He seems to want to be here and we want him here and we’ll continue to support him as much as we can as he goes on to compete in the next stage.”
Oduduru said the decision to turn pro was a hard decision because his teammates are his family. However, after talking to his coaches and mentors he knew it was the right decision.
“I would say it has been a tough one, like this is my family, this has been my home and deciding to leave your home and face the world is like a difficult one,” Oduduru said. “But sometimes it's a choice you have to make. I talked about it and we had a discussion with the coaches and everything and they were like ‘boy it’s time for you to go, you have done everything you have to do for Tech’”
After making the decision, Oduduru said he remembered something one of his teammates back home said about their future. Now that he is turning pro, he is one step closer to his dream, Oduduru said.
“I think I was talking to my relatives back home, one of my teammates back home,” Oduduru said. “He reminded me ‘can you remember the time we were watching TV and we were watching the Olympics and we were saying someday we were going to get to that stage’ and I think it was that moment 'til this day I created a platform for me to get my dream”
Oduduru said Tech is a place for winners where athletes come to get better. If athletes want to be shaped into the best, come to Tech, Oduduru said.
“This is a home of champions, this is where champions are made,” Oduduru said. “Champions are made here. I’m gonna say if you want to do good as an athlete this is the place to come, this is the home where they will make the athletes you want to be.”
Even though he is staying in Lubbock to train, Oduduru parts with advice for his teammates. First, he said he appreciated them and was thankful for them. He also reassured them that they have his faith.
“My advice to all my teammates, first I’m going to say to all my teammates that I love them so much,” Oduduru said. ”I want to use this opportunity to thank them for their love and caring and I’m going to say they are the best teammates anyone could have. They should keep on being focused, keep that determination there and do the right thing and always believe in their coach. I know I hope to see them do wonderful as a team.”