Tyron 'Toritseju' Akins, 2014 Nigerian 110m Hurdles Champion, recently switched allegiances from Team USA

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!

Thank you

Tyron 'Toritseju' Akins, 2014 Nigerian 110m Hurdles Champion,  recently switched allegiances from Team USA
Tyron ‘Toritseju’ Akins, 2014 Nigerian 110m Hurdles Champion,
recently switched allegiances from Team USA


Bambo Akani is the Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC). He is an avid sports writer and photo-blogger, and has quickly become an internationally recognized Athletics Expert. He appeared in a new weekly Athletics segment on the Sports Tonight Show on Channels TV during the 2014 Athletics season and has also appeared on Jamaican Television and Radio to discuss the MoC "The History" Film that he Produced and Directed, and to review and analyse key events in world athletics.Bambo holds an MEng and BA in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University in the UK and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management in the US.


  1. Hi my name is Olumide and I have aspirations of competing for Nigeria in Rio in the Decathlon. Hope you will hear of my accolades soon. It is really amazing to see the coverage you are giving Nigeria. With the proper structure I believe we could dominate athletics. I wish you luck in the resurgence of Naija Athletics. I hope I can be a part of it.
    Here is a video of my journey/training: http://youtu.be/hi388WMbUv4?list=UUhGkgY4RLKxo3nMW5_wdUuw
    If you have any ideas for training, coaches,etc here in the United State please let me know.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    The Nigerian Ninja

    • Hello Olu,

      thanks for your comments – we are working on a Nationwide talent search next year to find Athletes that can represent Nigeria at the Rio Olympics – we plan to recruit the best and train them under a World Class coach to win medals in 2016 and 2020! Here are more details if you would like to register: https://www.makingofchamps.com/how-to-join/

      Where are you based currently? And are you sure that Decathlon is your best event to qualify for the Rio Olympics? Why don’t you concentrate on the 1 or 2 events that are your strongest? Good luck on the Road to Rio, and we look forward to hearing from you! 😉

  2. Hello Mr. Akani, I am currently based in the United States as I complete my MPH at San Diego State. I have lived in the US for many years but I was already planning on returning to Nigeria after completing my education to make an impact with my MPH degree. This olympic dream is only going to contribute to the positive changes I want to see in my native land.
    I chose the Decathlon because I have good marks in many different events with little training. 100m-11.2 400m-51.3 Long Jump- 21′ High jump-6’2 1600m-5:50. I have had very little technical work in the throwing events (discuss, shot put, javelin) and would have to be coached in the pole vault. I guess I assumed the decathlon was my best chance but I do believe i have a lot of fast twitch fibers and with proper training my 1 or 2 best events could be the 100m and long jump.
    I am filling out the survey now and I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you sir for the attention and your continued efforts.


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