28 year-old Tyron Akins, winner of the 100m Hurdles at the 2014 Nigerian Trials (in a time of 13.66 seconds) speaks exclusively to MAKING OF CHAMPIONS on his decision to switch from Team USA to Team Nigeria, and on his family links to Nigeria!
Tyron, how are you feeling about your win here at the Nigerian Trials?
I’m feel pretty good, we had a little delay just before with the women’s hurdles, where something went wrong with the timing system, but I was able to re-focus on the task at hand which was trying to win the race.
Now you were also at the Warri Relays last week – how did you do over there?
Well I felt really good about the Warri Relays but unfortunately I hit hurdles 5 and 6 and that pretty much put me out of the race. Being a hurdler those types of things happen, so I was put out of the race by that – I came fourth though.
So is this your first time competing in Nigeria, and for Nigeria?
Yes it is.
Could you tell us about how you came to switch from the US to represent Nigeria?
Well, it was an opportunity that arose for me, so I was like yeah, I would like to do that. I have always followed Nigeria Track & Field as well, being that I am good friends with Blessing (Okagbare), so I’ve always kept up with what was happening over here. So when the opportunity arose for me to do it, I was able to take advantage of it. So I’m here now!
Do you have any family or heritage from Nigeria?
I do, I do. Uhm…somewhere down the line but it’s there!
A lot of Nigerians will be wondering – how does it work? Don’t you have to have some kind of close parentage or family links in Nigeria to make the switch?
You’ve got to have some sort of proof that you have that family. At least that’s my understanding, and I was lucky enough to go down the family tree to find that.
So how far down the family tree does it go?
I don’t know exactly, but I think it was pretty deep!
So what is your Personal Best in the 100m Hurdles and when did you do it?
My PB is 13.25 seconds, and I did that in 2008. So it’s been a while, but from 2009 to 2012, I was consistently in the 13.30’s, and I had an off year in 2013, so I’m trying to get back to form now, and everything is falling into place it should be.
Now that you’re getting started with your Nigeria career, what are your hopes for the future, starting with the Commonwealth Games?
The goal is to medal, to consistently get on the podium. I think, whenever you represent any country, you want to consistently be on the podium, or in contention for the podium. So everything I am doing is to try to medal at every Championships – Commonwealth, African Championships, All-Africa Games next year, then the World Championships, the Olympics and all of that. So those are my goals for now.
Have you competed before (for Team USA) at a World Championships or an Olympics?
No I have not.
So that’s something to look forward to?
Absolutely, and I can’t wait!
How fast are you on the flat (100 metres)? You know that our guys need some help in that department…
Well, it’s a mix, because on record they’ve got me at 10.78s into a 2.0 m/s headwind, but I think my best was 10.49s
So you think you might try out the flat at some point?
No, can’t do it! Can’t do it!
Ok, congratulations again, and thank you for your time!