It was a historic day for Making of Champions (MoC) Track Club on Tuesday, March 5th, as a whopping 16 athletes were unveiled to the public at a Press Conference held in Surulere, Lagos. This is a new record for the club which started out with eight athletes in 2016!
The sixteen athletes comprised 3 senior athletes – Kelechi Christian, Ifeanyi Christian and Suraj Habib, with the 13 other athletes belonging to the Youth and Junior teams.
Kelechi Christian is the reigning African U20 100m women’s Champion, a feat she achieved while competing for Zimbabwe at the African U20 Championships in Algeria in 2017. She also claimed a Bronze medal in the 200m and Silver in the 4x100m at the same event.
Multi-talented Ifeanyi Christian made history by becoming the club’s first ever para-athlete, and comes with sterling credentials, including being the best in the men’s T46 category in 100m, 200m and 400m in Nigeria. He’s also a GOLD medallist for Akwa Ibom at the 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF).
Habib entered MoC’s history books as the first athlete from Northern Nigeria to be recruited into the club, having relocated from Zaria in Kaduna State, to join the club. Habib specializes in the 400m.
The 13 Youth and Junior athletes unveiled are products of the extensive Athletics Trials organized by MoC in Ughelli (Delta State), Port Harcourt (Rivers State), Enugu and Lagos States between September and October 2018. Most of these athletes were eventually relocated by MoC to Lagos State a few months ago, and have since commenced preparation for the 2019 season.
The male athletes include John Clifford, Favour Ashe, Adeola Ayo, Gracious Ushie, Inioluwa Mebawondu, Eze Owho, and Uthman Yusuff. Their female counterparts are Miracle Thompson, Fidelia Ucheobi, Success Umukoro, Victory Owhoviorole, Maria Umoibang and Halima Badmus.
MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani described the development as a historic one, and is confident that the new athletes will attain their full potential with the support of the club.
He said, “We’re very humbled, we’re very excited. We’re in awe at the task at hand. We’re almost doubling our number of athletes; this brings the total number of athletes at MoC Track Club to almost 30. It’s a historic moment for us because this is the largest class of athletes that we’ve brought in.
“For the 13 Junior and Youth athletes unveiled today, their initial target is running at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, next year, while the three senior athletes will join the likes of Joy Udo-Gabriel and Jerry Jakpa. Their main target is getting on to the senior team for Nigeria, starting with the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, and then Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. We are very excited about the future.”
Ahead of the National U18 and U20 Trials holding in Ilaro, Ogun State from March 14th to 17th, Akani expects the a good outing from the athletes, most of whom would be making their first appearance for the club:
“We have 16 athletes in the Junior and Youth teams, and it’s a new beginning for many of them. Some of them have been training with us for two to three months, and so it’s going to be a first experience for many at the nationals. We do hope one or two of them can get to Cote d’Ivoire in April and use that as a spring board to start working towards the World U20 Championships next year and eventually make it into the senior team”, he said.