We are excited to announce that Making of Champions, Nigeria’s leading Sports Media and Management Company, is celebrating its sixth year of existence, and has grown in leaps and bounds since being incorporated on the 6th of June, 2013!
The MoC movement started with the Making of Champions: “The History” film, which was made to showcase Nigeria’s rich Olympic medal history in Athletics (Track and Field), and lays the foundation for how Nigeria can return to reckoning on the world stage!
At the very core of Making of Champions is the firm belief that Nigeria can become the No. 1 Track and Field nation, and our mission is to produce athletes who can represent Nigeria at Tokyo 2020 and beyond. MoC Social Media was launched in April 2014, and currently boasts of about 80,000 fans across all social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
In 2015, the search for Nigeria’s next generation of Olympians led to the unveiling of ‘Top Sprinter’, which saw the company staging competitions across different cities in the country. Some of Nigeria’s most outstanding ex-internationals and Olympic medallists – Francis Obikwelu, Glory Alozie, Deji Aliu and Uchenna Emedolu, teamed up with MoC in the journey to unearth talented athletes in Nigeria. The Top Sprinter train took off in Lagos, then branched off at Ibadan, Enugu and Benin, and culminated with an exciting grand finale in Lagos.
Following the success of the first edition, Top Sprinter returned in 2016, but this time around, in partnership with the Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC). As such, the competition was tagged ‘Top Sprinter Lagos Relays’.
Later that year, MoC took a leap of faith by launching Nigeria’s first ever Professional Track Club, to train athletes at home to become future Olympic and World Champions! The decision turned out to be a defining moment in the fortunes of the company and the club kicked off with eight pioneer athletes in Lagos, and currently boasts of 29 athletes across Senior, Junior and Youth levels.
History was also made in 2016 as MoC launched a Student-Athlete Scholarship, also the first of its kind in the country, to take care of the training and University education of the best teenage athletes that can be found in Nigeria, until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The initiative kicked off with two athletes: Joy Udo-Gabriel and Jeremiah Jakpa, who were awarded scholarships by Oil and Gas company, ARCO Group.
The support covers the athletes’ tuition, accommodation, nutrition, training and competition costs over a defined period. Four other athletes, Emmanuel Ojeli, Favour Ekpekpe, Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi and Mercy Umoibang have since benefited from the scheme with the backing of Shell Nigeria, ND Western and Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Company.
In April 2018, Udo-Gabriel became the first MoC athlete to make the Nigerian team to an international competition. After finishing 3rd at the Commonwealth Games Trials held in Abuja, the then 18-year old got her first call-up to represent Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. While racing in the 100m, Udo-Gabriel was impressive as she placed 2nd in her heat with a then Personal Best (PB) of 11.42s.
Although she narrowly missed making the final, she bounced back in the 4x100m relay where she ran a spectacular lead-off leg for Nigeria, teaming up with Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Tobi Amusan and Rosemary Chukwuma to win Bronze in her debut outing for Nigeria. Following her impressive outing, Udo-Gabriel was selected to the ECOWAS U-20 Championships where she emerged the fastest girl in West Africa and the standout athlete at the competition.
MoC’s efforts in building the next generation of Track superstars enjoyed a boost in August 2018. Udo-Gabriel and Jakpa were named on the Nigerian team to the African Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba.
This was Jakpa’s international debut, and a second outing for Udo-Gabriel at senior level. She won a Bronze in the women’s 100m behind Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie Josee Ta Lou, and GOLD in the women’s 4x100m, while Jakpa made the semis of the men’s 200m.
To commemorate its fifth year anniversary in 2018, the company unveiled its first ever MoC Grand Prix and Relays staged at the Yaba College of Technology, which was well attended by the country’s top athletes.
Later that year, MoC embarked on its biggest recruitment drive yet and organized Athletics Trials in Port Harcourt, Ughelli, Enugu and then Lagos, in search of talented athletes that could join the club. At the end of the day, based on their performance at the Trials held in the respective locations, 11 athletes were selected and relocated from their respective states of origin, to join the club.
The year ended on an encouraging note for the club as Udo-Gabriel was named the Discovery of the Year by the Nigeria Sports Awards. She went on to claim a Bronze medal at the National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Abuja where she represented Delta State.
Teammate and quartermiler Emmanuel Ojeli also won a Bronze medal in the men’s 400m while representing Lagos State, clocking a PB of 46.98s. Jakpa represented Bayelsa State and narrowly missed the podium after placing 4th in the 100m, while junior athlete Blessing Oladoye made the semis of the women’s 400m for Ondo State.
In February 2019, MoC unveiled its kit for the 2019 season – branded Track suits, Tshirts, running tights and speed suits, all customized for athletes who are running for MoC Track Club. In March, the company unveiled a record 16 new athletes for the 2019 season, comprising three senior athletes – Kelechi Christian, Ifeanyi Christian – the first para-athlete to join the club, and Suraj Habib, as well as 13 other athletes belonging to the Youth and Junior teams.
April 2019 was a historic one for MoC as three of its junior athletes, Blessing Oladoye, Favour Ekpekpe and Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi made the Nigerian team to the African U20 Championships held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The trio are the first set of athletes from the club to make the Nigerian Junior team.
Also in April, three of MoC’s senior athletes – Udo-Gabriel, Jakpa and Ojeli left the shores of Nigeria to compete in their first ever international meet, the Gaborone International Meet in Botswana, where Ojeli ran Nigeria’s fastest 400m in 2019 – a PB of 45.91s, which earned him a qualification for the forthcoming African Games in Morocco.
Jakpa on the other hand raced to a new PB of 20.84s to place 2nd in the men’s 200m at the meet, while Udo-Gabriel won the 200m, and settled for 2nd place in the 100m. All three athletes have qualified for the African Games. Udo-Gabriel and Jakpa were thereafter invited for the IAAF World Relays for the first time in their careers, and once more donned the green and white colours in Yokohama, Japan.
In commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the organization, MoC Founder/CEO, Bambo Akani, had this to say:
“It has been a humbling experience being a part of Athletics in Nigeria over the past six years. We’ve been through many ups and downs but the constant that keeps us going is the progress we’ve made with discovering and developing Nigeria’s future Olympians, and the impact that MoC media has made from covering Team Nigeria internationally since 2014.
“We’ve also hosted some of the biggest Athletics competitions in Nigeria since 2015, and we are preparing to announce our 2nd MoC Grand Prix tomorrow. It’s been an exciting journey, but the best is yet to come.”