With the goal to discover outstanding athletes from schools across Nigeria, MTN CHAMPS will serve as a launchpad for the next legends of Athletics superstars who will dominate the global scene in future.

MTN CHAMPS has selected 7 current stars of Nigerian Athletics to champion these events and inspire the future to rise. These MTN CHAMPS Ambassadors will serve as beacons to galvanise each city with stories of their own development in each region, motivating schools to actively enrol, and students to passionately participate.

These 7 record-setting rising stars comprise of a lead Ambassador, 3 City Ambassadors who are from or trained at or near each location, and 3 Academy Ambassadors who are the top alum from MoC in Lagos, from where they each have compelling origin stories connecting them to each city/region on a deeper level, which will light the flame for every aspiring athlete and sports lover!

MTN CHAMPS Lead Ambassador is Udodi Onwuzirike – the 2023 NCAA 200m Champion, 5th fastest 20-year-old of all time in 200m – (19.76s) and 2021 World U-20 Champion over 200m.

He will be joined by 3 MTN CHAMPS City Ambassadors, two males and one female, who are Usheoritse Itsekiri (Benin), Nse Imaobong (Uyo) and Enoch Adegoke (Ibadan).

The 3 MTN CHAMPS Academy Ambassadors across all 4 locations, also 2 male and 1 female, are Favour Ashe, Miracle Thompson and Emmanuel Ojeli (3 of the most successful athletes to emerge from MoC)!

Usheoritse Itsekiri

Usheoritse Itsekiri is the current men’s 100m National Champion, reclaiming the title he first won in 2019.

Itsekiri is Nigeria’s current ‘Fastest Man’ – in 2023 reclaiming at the National Trials in Benin the Title reserved for Nigeria’s National 100m Champion which he first won in 2019!

The Delta State born Athlete won his first Senior National Title in the 100m at the 2018 National Sports Festival, followed by 100m & 200m Titles at the 2019 National Trials.

At the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Itsekiri set a Personal Best of 10.02s to win 100m Bronze and won 4x100m Silver for Nigeria. He reached the 100m semis at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

He is Nigeria’s most consistent and top-ranked 100m Sprinter in 2023, having run 10.05s or less five times this year, and is widely expected to soon become Nigeria’s 15th sub-10 runner in history!

Favour Ashe

MoC Alumnus Favour Ashe was Nigeria’s fastest man for 2022.

Discovered in Ughelli at the 2018 MoC Trials & trained at MoC Track Club for 3 years before receiving 15+ US College Scholarship Offers, Ashe claimed the 2022 National 100m Title in 9.99s to become Nigerian 12th sub-10s runner!

After a meteoric since on the local scene with MoC, announcing himself to the world with 10.17s and 10.07s (+2.7) runs at the 3rd MoC Grand Prix in 2021, he represented Nigeria at the World U20 Champs.

After accepting a US Collegiate Scholarship from the University of Tennessee in 2022, Ashe won NCAA 100m Silver and 60m Bronze in his freshman year and reached the World Champs 100m Semis.

He went on to win 4x100m Bronze for Nigeria at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, before transferring to Auburn University in 2023, where he has lowered his 100m PB to 9.96s!

Imaobong Nse Uko 

Reigning women’s 400m Champion Imaobong Nse Uko is an MTN CHAMPS Ambassador.

Akwa Ibom’s most successful current athlete, Imaobong made history in 2021 by becoming Nigeria’s first ever triple World U20 Champion & African Record Holder in the Mixed 4x400m!

Since being discovered at the 2018 Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival, she has won several 400m National Titles, most famously at the 2018 National Sports Festival against Nigeria’s Senior Athletes.

She won 3 GOLDs at the 2021 World U20 Champs in Nairobi – 400m and both women’s & mixed 4x400m – and helped Nigeria qualify for Olympics in Mixed 4x400m in an African Record at Paga/MoC Relays!

Now a Baylor University Student-Athlete, she is the 2023 National 400m Champion, Nigeria’s No. 1 ranked quarter-miler since 2021, and 2022 World Champs finalist with Nigeria’s Mixed 4x400m Team!

Emmanuel Ojeli

Emmanuel Ojeli, the 2019 National 400m Champion is the first Olympian from MoC Track Club.

2019 National 400m Champion Ojeli was the first Olympian ever to emerge from MoC Track Club, when he represented Nigeria in Mixed 4x400m at the Tokyo Olympics, and set a PB of 45.63s in 2023!

Discovered at MoC’s 2016 Top Sprinter Champs as 400m Youth Champion, he also claimed the 2017 National Youth Games 400m Title before joining MoC in Lagos that year.

Ojeli’s breakthrough season came in 2019 when he set a PB of 45.91s at the Gaborone Grand Prix in Botswana, before going on to claim his first senior National 400m Title and 4x400m Bronze at the African Games in Rabat!

In 2021, he helped Nigeria’s Mixed 4x400m set a new African Record (AR) of 3:13.60 at the Tokyo Olympics, also winning Silver in the event and Bronze in men’s 4x400m at the 2022 African Champs in Mauritius. He recently set a new 400m PB of 45.63s to finish 2023 as Nigeria’s 2nd fastest quarter-miler this year!

Enoch Adegoke

Nigerian 2021 100m men’s Champion Enoch Adegoke made history for the country at the last Olympics in Tokyo.

Adegoke is Oyo State’s fastest ever Athlete! In 2021, he became the first Nigerian man in 25 years to reach the 100m Olympic Final and he’s also a Commonwealth Games 100m finalist!

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, he won both his 100m heat and semi-final to progress to his first Senior International final for Nigeria, also competing in the 4x100m Relays.

He ran a Personal Best (PB) of 9.98s in his 100m heat at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, becoming the eleventh Nigerian in history to break the 10 second barrier, and then finished 2nd in his semi-final in 10.00s to reach the Olympic 100m final!

He was Nigeria’s Fastest Man in 2021 when he won the 100m at Nigeria’s Olympic Trials, also winning at the National Sports Festival!

Miracle Thompson

Miracle Thompson has blossomed into one of Nigeria’s finest hurdlers after being coached by former African Record holder Glory Alozie.

Thompson won multiple National Silver Medals in Nigeria before earning a US Collegiate Scholarship in 2021. The Abia State born athlete has won many laurels for Cloud County College in Kansas, including the NJCAA National 100m Hurdles Title!

Thompson showcased her potential during the 2018 MoC Athletics Trials, where she emerged as a finalist in both the 100m and 200m, earning her a spot at the MoC Athletics Academy in 2019.

With a shift in focus to 100m Hurdles under the tutelage of Olympic Silver Medallist Glory Alozie, she’s blossomed into one of Nigeria’s finest hurdlers! She won Silver at the National Sports Festival & Nigeria’s Olympic Trials in 2021.

In 2022, Thompson’s dedication and hard work paid off as she became the NJCAA Region IV Hurdles Champion. She continued to impress in 2023 by securing the 100m Hurdles NJCAA Division 1 title with a new PB of 13.31s!

Udodi Onwuzurike

Udodi Onwuzurike emerged World U-20 GOLD medallist two years ago and is the reigning NCAA Champion over the distance.

Udodi burst onto the global scene at 18, winning the 200m at the 2021 World U20 Championships in Nairobi, his first global event after the US-born Athlete opted to represent Nigeria – now also NCAA 200m Champion, he’s on track to become one of the world’s greatest ever 200m Athletes!

Few words can articulate the incredible potential that Udodi possesses in both the 100m & 200m – he ran an incredible 200m PB of 19.76s en route to winning the 2023 NCAA 200m Title, placing him 2nd on Nigeria’s all-time list and making him the 5th fastest 20-year-old ever globally in the 200m!

In 2023, he also became Nigeria’s 13th man to run sub-10s in 100m with a 9.92s PB, placing him 5th on Nigeria’s all-time list, after a promising 2022 season where he anchored Team Nigeria to 4x100m Bronze at the Commonwealth Games after representing Nigeria at the World Champs in 100/200m.

Equally gifted academically, the Stanford undergraduate’s career is set to explode – there is no better example to the next generation that embodies both Athletic and Academic excellence at the highest level globally. MTN CHAMPS is proud to present Udodi Onwuzirike as our Lead Ambassador for this inaugural season!

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter 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, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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