Samuel Ogazi can now call himself Nigerian 400m royalty after delivering the performance of his career at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Oregon, storming to a massive Personal Best (PB) to clinch Silver with a time of 44.52s!

The University of Alabama freshman who only got to the US six months ago had only most of the indoor season to settle into the new system. He had himself a couple of races indoors to get warmed in but took the bull by the horn outdoors, setting multiple School Records to earn himself a spot in the 400m final.

One of such records is the 400m record of 44.86s held by the legendary Kirani James since 2011.

Qualifying at the top of his heat in Eugene, he was drawn in lane 5, a favourable lane where he could mark his arch-rival, Christopher Morales-Williams of the University of Georgia. The Canadian athlete went out hard in his usual rocking style and at half-way, Ogazi seemed to have a mountain to surmount to close the gap and enter the conversation for the win.

He had no issues at all doing this as he launched a counter-attack, running a masterful top bend to level up with the rest of the competition. With 50 metres to go, he caught Florida’s Jevaughn Powell, inching ahead of him at the finish to claim Silver in a big PB of 44.52s.

That performance was his third run under 45 seconds, further solidifying his position as Nigeria’s second fastest man in history.

He also became the first Nigerian male quarter-miler to get a podium placement at an NCAA Outdoor final since Clement Chukwu won the title in 1999!

Athletics is a special shade of life for me, and my confidence has received a boost since I started out covering the sport from the stands of my home, and now as a Junior Sportswriter with Making of Champions - an opportunity to get better at what I do.


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