The search for Nigeria’s next generation of Olympians began on February 7, 2015 with the kick-off of the Lagos Auditions for Making of Champions’ (MoC) upcoming Reality TV show, Top Sprinter Genesis, which is set to hit the airwaves later this year.

The first closed auditions for the Reality Show were held at University of Lagos Sports Centre, with about ten prospective athletes featuring in the programme under the tutelage of one of Nigeria’s fastest men ever, Deji Aliu, who teamed up with MoC last month in the quest to find Nigeria’s next generation of World Class Athletes!

The athletes went through some training sessions with Coach Aliu, who was able to gauge their fitness levels, going by the performances posted during the work out sessions and speed tests. The coach also had a pep talk with the athletes afterwards, highlighting areas they needed to improve on, whilst also commending their tenacity, hard work and determination.

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The second closed auditions followed a week later (February 14) with a surge in the number of athletes that turned up for the event, with over 20 in attendance, some of whom were outstanding at the 2015 Lagos Secondary School Sports Festival (Ibile Games) which took place towards the end of January.

Owing to the increase in the number of athletes, it was therefore no surprise that the competition was stiffer, as participants competed in the 100m according to their different age groups and categories. Victoria Chukwumah, a bronze medallist in both the 200m/400m events at the Ibile Games, gave her fellow contestants a good run for their money, while Ikoko Onengie was outstanding in the male category.

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Athens 2004 Olympic Bronze medallist, Coach Aliu, who believes that Nigeria remains a deep mine of untapped potential, could not hide his excitement at the raw talent that was on display at the venue of the auditions.

It was a test of both speed and mental strength on the third and final day of the auditions, which was held on February 21 at the same venue, with over 60 athletes in attendance! It proved to be the best and most exciting of all, being the DECISION DAY, meaning that only the best 25 athletes would proceed to the next stage of the competition.

The tension was palpable as the athletes went through their drills and workouts, before being separated according to their events. There were two semi-finals each in the men’s 200m and women’s 100m, with the four fastest in each race progressing to the finals.The men’s 100m had four semi-finals, with 3rd and 4th in each race going through to the ‘B’ final, while 1st and 2nd went straight to the ‘A’ final. There was also a straight final for the women’s 400m.

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Ruth Usoro won the 100m finals ahead of Moyosore Badejo and Omosola Omolayo, thereby, automatically making the Top 25 list. In the Men’s category, Onengie Ikoko stole the show once again as he won comfortably ahead of Edwin Peter and Charles David while Chidozie Uwajumogo won the ‘B’ finals ahead Fuad Lawal.

The men’s 200m was another explosive race as Ibile Games 100m, 200m and 4x100m Champion, Ese Oguma fought his way hard to the finish line to win ahead of Kolawole Arewa and James Ubong.
Victoria Chukwumah took the women’s 400m race and was selected alongside second placed Nwaokoro Blessing into the Top 25.

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The identity of all the athletes in the Top 25 will be revealed in due course. Worthy of note is the fact that all the winners of the various events are secondary school students who are still all below 18 years. Will some of these athletes perhaps qualify to represent Nigeria at the World Youth Championships in Colombia in July? Only time will tell.

With the conclusion of the Lagos Auditions, the MoC train is set to invade other regions of the country in March, in search of the best talents who will take the country to heights yet to be experienced in Nigeria Track and Field.

The search continues!

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All Photos by Zemaye Okediji of Exwhyzee Photography.

 

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Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.

5 COMMENTS

  1. i do no think this are the kind of people we need for Sprinter Genesis they don’t look like one you better go and look for real people not this ones that at the end they will bring nothing but failure to our country we need real people okay look at the girl with class on her face i don’t think she has the ability to win you all are just bunch of jokers

    • Mr Frances. I do not think that there was anywhere in the article where it was stated that “the girl in glasses’made the final cut.

      Even if she did … you cannot judge a book by its covers … and we certainly cannot manufacture world class starts in a day or two … i am actually excited that the turn out was more of kids (at least from the picture i am seeing above) … it only means with the right coaching and facilities and motivation, we can begin to groom these kids to be world beaters …. Usain Bolt was at the world youth champs at 14; a very lean boy that looks like the breeze will blow him off … let us look at what he has achieved today.

      I think its a goo thing MoC is organizing … i for one would like to see its outcome. Hopefully beneficial.

  2. Reading this ad with a smile on my face and also anxious to know the precised date MoC will come to my region. I’m in Abia state. I’m happy that we have such talents here in Nigeria and I’m much more happy to be a part of that team that will bring back our glory. God bless Nigeria and also the team pioneering this activities.. One love

  3. Waiting for d Ibadan auditions, that of lagos is still small. I bet Ibadan is where the real action is.. come and explore we are waiting for Moc..

  4. Waiting for d Ibadan auditions, that of Lagos is still small. I bet Ibadan is where the real action is.. come and explore, we are waiting for Moc..

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