Nigeria’s second fastest 200m sprinter of all-time, U.S.-based Udodi Onwuzurike, says it is sad missing the golden chance to compete for the second time in the World Championships, which begin in Budapest, Hungary, on August 19.

Onwuzurike, who ran 19.76seconds in the 200m earlier this year, failed to recover from an injury he sustained while completing in the NCAA in the United States. He came to Nigeria for the National Trials in June, and was part of the nation’s 4x100m relay team to the African Region 2 competition in Lome, Togo.

Onwuzurike and another U.S.-based sprinter, Godson Brume, won’t be part of the party in Budapest. Onwuzurike, a former world U-20 champion, who won the 200m title at the 2023 NCAA outdoor track and field Championships in June, was one of the athletes the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) was banking on for a podium finish, but a hamstring injury has aborted his plans.

The 20-year-old made his debut for Team Nigeria at the last World Championships at Oregon, United States in 2022. Ranked the fifth fastest so far this year and joint 26th in the world all-time ranking, Onwuzurike wrote on his Twitter page on Friday that he is confident he will come back stronger next year. He wished his teammates a productive participation in Budapest.

He wrote:“After recently battling a hamstring issue, my medical team advised that I sit out this year’s World Championships. I’ve given my all, but unfortunately, my body needs the rest to heal properly and avoid further damage.

“This decision hasn’t been an easy one. I have poured my heart into every moment leading up to this event, and it’s incredibly disappointing to see my season end like this.

“I have explored every avenue, left no stone unturned, but there simply isn’t enough time left to make a full recovery. Everything happens for a reason, and while it’s tough to see it now, I truly believe that this setback will only fuel my determination to come back and even stronger next year.

“To my teammates and friends, I hope you do your best and make your country proud.
I’ll be using this time to heal, recover and come back even better. Wishing my fellow athletes competing at this year’s World Championships the very best of luck.”

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