How to #MakeChamps in Nigeria ahead of 2020 Olympics and beyond

Nigeria in recent years has derailed from her status as a force to reckon with in the world of athletics to a country that can’t even merge with her African counterparts and has since lost the title of being the power house of African Athletics to South Africa who now have some if the fastest athletes in the world today. 

Since 1980, Nigeria has never returned from an Olympic Game without a single medal in athletics but everything changed in 2012 when all hopes were on one athlete; Blessing Okagbare. Though she ran a then Personal Best of 10.92s in the 100m semifinal but that wasn’t enough for her to medal as she finished 8th in a race won by Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser in a time of 10.75s. 

Rio 2016 was even worse as Okagbare couldn’t get to the final of any individual event but she alongside Gloria Asunmu, Jennifer Madu and Agnes Osazuwa placed 8th in the 4x100m final. Ese Brume raised our hopes in the Women’s Long jump as she got into the final with one of the best jump in the qualifying stage but she remarkably finished 5th in the final. 

Blessing Okagbare after her 100m semifinal at London 2012

Now the time is set for everything to get back to normalise and for Nigeria to be restored atop in the World of Athletics. Nigeria’s no.1 sport media and management company, Making of Champions is on the verge to reignite the passion and bring back the lost glory for the imagination of all Nigerians for the sports! 

Despite the amount of money put into sports like football when it comes to Track and Field little or no attention is given towards it and that’s why Making of Champions fondly called MoC started a Track Club that would help lift Nigerian athletes out of poverty, protect them from manipulation and abuse and give them an education, at the same time training them to hopefully represent Nigeria at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and beyond.  

Since they began the club in 2016, 13 potential athletes have been recruited into the team and are being trained professionally by two Olympic medallists; Deji Aliu and Uchenna Emedolu. 

MOC Athletes pose for a group photo

ARCO Group and Shell Nigeria have thrown their support by sponsoring 3 athletes but your help is greatly needed to ensure that all athletes are supported immensely! 
That’s why MoC has taken a step forward to launch a GoFundMe account for sports loving Nigerians home and abroad to support the project and grant scholarships to the athletes in the team to ensure all their needs both academically and sportswise are duly catered for. 

To be part of history and this great revolution, click this link http://bit.ly/MakeChamps to support and if you want to donate in naira, here’s the account details: Making of Champions GT Bank 0148644947 and when you do so also send a mail to management@makingofchamps.com so that your reward would be sent to you. 

You may be wondering who these athletes are, click this link http://www.makingofchamps.com/athletes-profiles/ to read about each athlete. 

At MoC they don’t just believe in athletes running fast but also getting an education. Let’s make it possible. The more the support, the more athletes that would be awarded.

MoC ‘s  Joy Udo-Gabriel coasting to victory at 2016 Top Sprinter competition

With your support, the highly potential athletes would be fully funded four years before the next Olympics and not just 4 months. Get involved!

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Paul Dedewo storms to World Lead Time!

Nigeria’s  Quatermiler Paul Dedewo is really up to something this season as the US-based seasoned 400m athlete along with his teammates at Altis World-one of the best track club in the world- ran a World Lead Time of 3:01.02s in the 4x400m men’s relay at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Texas on Sunday, March 19th. 

Dontavius Wright was the lead off runner then he handed it over to Bralon Taplin who did a great job and passed the baton to Dedewo and Deon Lendore took it home for the team. 

Their time of 3:01.02s broke the 16-year old meet record of 3:03.20s. Dedewo ran a split of 45.7s while teammate Taplin (44.24s), Wright (45.6s) and Lendore (45.27s). 

Since the start of the season, Dedewo whose mum hails from Edo state has given Nigerian athletic buffs a reason to be hopeful when the season starts properly with the IAAF World Championships in London as the major target. 

He opened his season with the 400m indoor and he ran a then Personal Best of 46.33s, a week later at the Tune-Up Meet hosted by Nothern Arizona University he bettered his time to 45.73s to claim his second victory of the year. 

To show that those times were not a fluke,  Dedewo at the USA Indoor Championships on March 5th broke Kunle Fasasi’s two-month old National Record of 33.09s in the 300m. 

Interestingly, he broke the record TWICE in less than 24 hours. He ran a time of 32.38s in the heat before shattering it again in the final with 31.92s to rank 3rd on the World All-time list. 

Ever since Dedewo moved over to Phoenix,  Arizona to train with Altis, he has been having a great time with his training and his performance.

“I’m happy to announce for the first time on 8 years I’ve been training injury-free… If Track AND Field is a team sport, I’m nothing without my team: @CoachKTyler, @AltisWorld, @JerodCarnahan_lmt,  @Iordan.krouchev, Rick Wade and my training partners” Quoted from his Instagram post.

Keep it up Dedewo! The world is waiting for you to be part of the change that would put Nigerian athletics back on the World raider.

Doreen Amata, Loveth Odia triumph at Yellow Jacket Invitational

ATLANTA, Ga. – It’s always a good thing when you start the season with a win or a Top 3 finish. It’s brings postive vibes that takes you through the season. 

At the 1st Annual Yellow Jacket Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech on Friday, March 19th there were many great performances from athletes who were present. With some running World Lead time, Personal Best’s and for many others it was a Season Best.

Nigerians were not left out on this as 7x National Champion, Doreen Amata who represented her sponsors, Adidas scaled a height of 1.81m to win the Women’s High Jump event. 


Doreen
started the 2017 season at the Banska Bystrica Indoor High Jump meeting in February where she jumped 1.89m. You would recall that the World Championships finalist at this same meet last year scaled a  height of  1.93m to set a new National Indoor Record. 

Middle Tennesse’s Junior Loveth Odia who was very active during the Indoor season with a Personal Best of 53.88s to show for it, began the Outdoor season for the Blue Raiders on a somewhat good note, finishing 3rd in the 400m with a time of  54.64s behind Ransby Micaiah (54.56s) and Candace Hill (52.94s). 

Afon Ifeoluwa
, a Sophomore at Georgia State University finished 15th in the event with a time of 59.73s. 

In the 200m, Candace once again was in a world of her own as she stopped the clock in a World Lead time of 22.76s. Nigeria’s Jennifer Edobi of Vanderbilt finished just outside the medal zone in a time of 24.17s. 

On the men’s side, Middle Tennesse’s Junior Umoh Ifiok finished 7th in the men’s 200m event with a Season Best. Of 21.60s while teammate Adeniji Adedamola finished 14th overall with a time of 22.01s. 

Middle Tennesse’s squad. From left; Adeniji, Odia, Umoh and Okeze. 

Umoh went on to finish 8th in the 400m (47.91s), Adeniji placed 11th overall (48.05s) while Charles Okeze who is best known in the 100m and 200m decided to open his Outdoor season with the 400m and he finished 17th overall with a time of 50.25s. 

The relays were used to cap the great Season Opener with the Middle Tennesse men’s  4x400m team which included Nathan Mack, Trevor Sanders, Tahir Walsh and Adeniji place 4th with a time of 3:18.27s. 

The Blue Raiders will be back to the track next weekend at the Raleigh Relays hosted by North Caroline State. 

Nkem Ezealah: One year remembrance

It was a tragic moment when the news broke out that one of Nigeria’s most promising sprinter Nkem Martha Ezealah passed on to glory on the 15th of March, 2016 after a ghastly accident on Benin-Ore road while on her way to the village in the South Eastern part of the country  with her mum who gave up the ghost after the doctors tried to revive her back to life.

It was a  rude shock to many athletes as there was much wailing at the High Performance Center in Port Harcourt where the national athletes were camped. Commonwealth Champion Ese Brume who spoke to New Telegraph after she heard the news said, 

“This was someone I stayed with anytime I travelled to Lagos, I am yet to believe she is gone.” She said. “We were very close as athletes and I don’t know how it will be when next I am in Lagos. It will be so odd not to see her again. Rest in Peace my sister”. 

Nkem’s last athletic meet was the AFN Over Distance in Port Harcourt, Rivers state where she competed in the 300m and 150m events running a time of 40.79s and 18.68s respectively. 

According to her coach, Uruemu Adu of Esteem Athletics Club concerning the plans he had with Nkem ahead of the 2016 season. He said the main goal was the Olympics. 

Our key issue was the Olympics. I wanted her to be there because I am not an Olympian  though I have trained Olympians and I also wanted to be part of her history too. We were hoping on her to run a 11.03s and also hold her own in the IAAF Diamond Leagues and she was working very hard  towards it but unfortunately what happened had to happen for a reason best known to God.”



Answering the question of “What vaccum she created” he paused and said with an emotional voice,


“Lots of vaccum have been created by her. She was a great athlete in a unique way and apart from being a sprinter, she was a captain and a motivator. The vaccum is still there. No one can be like her. Nkem is Nkem!”

Even with all the pain filled in his heart, Coach Adu said “Somewhere along the line one has to move on in whatever way he or she can. She’s somebody one cannot forget in a hurry. It’s very painful though but one has to move on.”


The ever smiling Nkem with Coach Adu.

For her teammate at Esteem Athletics Club, Kingsley Okelu he feels sad and empty. 

“I feel sad and empty. There is this vaccum that has been empty since she passed away. She was a motivator,  a sister, friend, training partner, a mentor to different individuals  and collectively as a team. She’s a very unique person and also irreplaceable as far as I’m concerned. I miss her and I pray her gentle soul rests in perfect peace.”
He said. 

Nkem Ezealah and members of Esteem Athletics Club.

Another teammate, Eferobor Oghenetejiri poured out her heart when asked how the last one year has been without late Nkem. 

“Ever since she passed on, things has not really taken shape with me because she was now becoming a bestie,  we talk sometime till  midnight, we advice each other. I remember her telling me,”Aunty Oghene don’t worry we will be in the same room at Abuja Golden League so that we can encourage ourselves to run well.” 

She continued, “We train together all the while, she really wanted to see me run well again but the cold hands of death snatched her away but I thank God”. 
The 100m hurdles specialist ended by saying “I really do miss her very much but what can I  say. I love her. RIP Nkem Martha”. 

 

Tejiri (lane 3) and Nkem (lane 2) during a training session

Even before delving into athletics in 2012, she was a star footballer who represented Nigeria at the 2010 Football for Hope Festival an official programme of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa where she displayed many amazing skills. 

Her journey into athletics began in 2012 when the Tertiary Games trails was held at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos where she studied. Nkem decided to tryout in the 100m and suprisingly she won the 100m without any experience on the track and that caught the attention of Coach Adu. 

Ever since then, Nkem never looked back as she became a force to reckon with in the Women’s 100m. Just one year of professional training with her new coach, Uruemu Adu she represented Nigeria at the 2013 African Junior Championships in Mauritus where she finished 5th in the 100m and she was a member of Nigeria’s 4x100m team that won the Gold at the competition. 

During the 2015 season she was one of the best female sprinter on the home front finishing Top 3 in the 100m at every AFN Golden League she attended including winning the Abuja leg of the competition with a Personal Best of 11.61s. Her fine form gave her the opportunity of competing with some of the best athletes in the world as she made her International debut at senior level at the IAAF Challenge Meeting in Dakar, Senegal where she placed 3rd in the 100m with (11.54/+2.1). She narrowly missed out of the All-African Games after she got injured in the 100m semifinal at the All Nigeria Championships in Warri, Delta state. 

Nkem Ezealah (far right) at 2015 All Nigeria Championships Warri

One month after her demise, the Track and Field Coaches Association of Nigeria (TAFCAN) held an athletic meet in memory of the late sprinter at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.  
That has led to the annual memorial competition in honour of Nkem which takes place in July after the All Nigeria Championships. 

Final words from Coach Adu “I miss her but I know her presence is still with us. The athletes are more motivated to do more and we’re also working towards her annual memorial meet which will be announced when all things are put in place. We all love her and we pray her gentle soul rest in peace.” 

Coach Deji Aliu and Mr Fred Agbaje at Nkem memorial meet

We at Athletic Heat miss her so much because we’ll trained with her before her demise and our most sincere prayer is that God will continue to comfort all those who are grieved by the loss. 

Adieu Nkem kem kem kem kem!!!

NCAA DI: Fasasi gets disqualified as Tobi, Abike scores point!

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Indoor track of Texas A&M was beehive with athletic activities as it played host to the 2017 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championships which is the last Indoor meet before the outdoor season and Nigerian athletes were present to jostle for honours for their various schools at the two-day event. 

       Nigeria’s hurdles queen and a fast rising Track and Field athlete, Tobi Amusan, always known for executing her race well had the 4th best time in the prelims of the women’s 60m hurdles but she could only manage a 5th place in the finals with a time of 8.03s. 

                          

        

        National 400m champion Kunle Fassasi ran an impressive time of 45.57s in the prelims to rank 3rd fastest time in the world this year. We expected more in the final but unfortunately he was disqualified.

                         

        Middle Tennessee’s sophomore Abike Egbeniyi who specializes in the middle distance race also ran the 4th best time of 2:04.78s in the prelims of the 800m but placed 8th in the final with a time of 2:06.86s. 

                        
        Boston University’s David Oluwadara competed in the men’s Triple Jump event wherein he finished in 8th position in the finals with a jump of 15.88m.

                            

        2016 National shotput champion Nikki Okwelogwu a senior at Havard University placed 11th in the women finals with a distance of 16.13m. 

        We wish them all the best in the outdoor season.

Rio Olympic finalist Ese Brume soars high in Turkey

ese brume

 

FAMAGUSTA, N.C- Many Nigerian athletes have their mind fixed on schooling in USA but it’s not the same for African and Commonwealth Long Jump champion Ese Brume who is now a student-athlete at Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Famagusta, Nothern Cyprus.

The 2016 National Long Jump Champion unknown to many arrived at EMU in October 2016 and she was welcomed by EMU Rector, Prof. Dr. Nerdet Osam, Vice Rector Prof. Dr. M. Yasar Ozden, Sports Affairs Director Cemal Konnolu, School coach Hasan Maydon amongst other top officials of the University.

 

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Ese Brume flanked by top officials and athletes of EMU

EMU Sports Affairs Director Konnolu Cemal said he was pleased to complete the transfer after two years of effort and he thanked the Rector, Prof. Osam for his support during the process. 

Answering Prof. Osam question of “Why EMU?” Brume said she has heard very positive things about the university especially from Nigerian graduates. She also expressed her satisfaction regarding continuing her academic and sporting career at EMU.

Brume has committed herself to the university and she will continue her professional career in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) where she will also be studying at EMU Faculty of Tourism. She will be representing EMU in Turkey and other countries in which competition will take place. Earlier in the year, Brume and her new coach Hasan Maydon moved to Istanbul for a training camp and with the support from the university, her major focus is the University Athletics Competition and the IAAF World Championships which will take place in London by August.

The African Junior Record Holder kicked off her season at the Turkish Indoor Athletics Championships on the 9th of February where she stormed to victory in the 60 meters (6.79s) and Long Jump (6.41m). It’s her first time competing in the Indoor and for sure it was a great way to start as she out spaced  Turkish favourite Nimet Karakus in the 60m.

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Ese Brume and School Coach Hasan Maydon

Ese Brume is widely accepted as the most successful athlete to come to North Cyprus. Looking forward to Tokyo 2020 Olympics she will be training alongside Turkish Triple Jump Champion Tugba Aydin.

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Ese Brume leaping to victory at the Turkish Indoor Championships 

It’s a great thing as she dared to be different by going to a country that athletes haven’t thought of. We at Athletic Heat’ wish her the best this year.

NB: Her 60m time was not ratified on her IAAF page but her jump of 6.41m was approved

Fasasi’s 300m National Indoor Record lowered Twice, to 31.92s! 

Just barely two months after National 400m Champion, Fasasi Kunle broke Innocent Egbunike’s National Indoor 300m Record  with a time of 33.09s. Paul Dedewo at the USA Indoor Championships broke it twice in less than 24 hours! 

Dedewo has been impressive this season and he is definitely an athlete to watch out for and a sure Nigerian representative at London 2017 World Championships if he keeps this nice form.  

Paul started the 2017 season with the 400m with an Indoor Personal Best of 46.33s about a week later he bettered his time to 45.73s which ranks him 4th on the 2017 World List. 

Paul Dedewo (right) at 2017 Arizona Tune-Up Meet.

Just yesterday at the USA Indoor Championships,  the 26 year old American-born athlete finished 2nd behind USA’s Noah Lyles with a PB and National Record of 31.92s in the 300m. 

His time ranks him 3rd on the World Indoor All-time best.  Lyles won the race in a WR time of 31.87s erasing Wallace Spearmon record of 31.88s which he set in 2006. 

Nigerians should be on the look out for Dedewo as he set to shock the world this season. At the 2016 All Nigeria Championships in Sapele, Delta state he ran the fastest time of 45.79s in the semifinal but got disqualified in the finals for false start.  

The race was won by University of Florida sophomore  Fasasi who has been  impressive this season running an Indoor PB of 46.02s and 20.96s. He is ranked 11th and 38th respectively on the 2017 World List. 

Dedewo smashed Fasasi’s National 300m Record TWICE!  He ran a scorching 32.38s in the heats before hitting a time of 31.92s in the final.  That’s just 5/100ths off the WR! 

His time is also faster than Innocent Egbunike’s 300m Outdoor National Record of 32.19.

Ever since Dedewo moved over to Atlis team in mid 2016,  he has been confident of having a great 2017 season bearing in mind the quality of ATLIS team and he is surely having a swell time in Phoenix, Arizona.

Under the ATLIS World team are Andre De Grasse,  Ameer Webb,  Aries Merrit,  Greg Rutherford and Wilfred Koffi amongst other top athletes in the World. 

Big congratulations Paul Dedewo! We wish you the very best in the outdoor season.