• ‘He is our Usain Bolt’
• Okowa thanks athletes, officials
The head coach of Team Nigeria to the just concluded U20 World Athletics Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, Seigha Porbeni, says U.S.-based junior sprinter, Udodi Onwuzurike is a replica of Jamaica’s speed star, Usain Bolt.
Onwuzurike was one of the biggest stars in Nairobi, as he won the 200m title, dropping a wind-legal, meet-winning time of 20.21 (+05) seconds. His winning time was part of three performances under 21 seconds at Nairobi 2021 championship. Also, it was both a Personal Best for the young lad and a National U20 record. It effectively broke the 25-year jinx that has seen no other Nigeria win gold in the 200m event since Francis Obikwelu grabbed the junior title in 1996 in Sydney.
Speaking with The Guardian, Porbeni, a former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, stated that Udodi Onwuzurike would be one of Nigeria’s stars to watch out for at Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I want to compare Udodi Onwuzurike to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt,” Porbeni said. “He is going to be one of the stars to watch at the next Olympics Games in 2024.”
Apart from winning the 200m title, Udodi Onwuzurike led Team Nigeria to the final of the 4x100m relay, where a mix up in baton exchange with Godson Brume cost the country a medal. He ran a fantastic race in the third leg only for Brume to spoil what could have been a gold medal winning effort for the country.
Porbeni is of the opinion that with more encouragement from Nigerian government, and more competitions, Udodi Onwuzurike, a student of Stanford, would become a world star.
Meanwhile, the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa has commended all athletes and officials of Team Nigeria to Nairobi 2021 World U20 Athletics Championship.
For the first time in the history of Nigeria’s participation in the championship, the country returned home with 4 gold and three bronze medals. The last time Nigeria got a gold medal was in 2008, when Folashade Abugan won in 400m in Poland.
“I must salute their courage, zeal and determination,” Okowa said. “I also thank the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, and everyone who contributed to the success in Nairobi. We have started our journey to Paris 2024 Olympics.”