Edose Ibadin, has a possible chance of upsetting the big names from East African and European countries, when it comes to qualifying for the 800m final at the World Championships in Doha.
The 26-year-old has established himself as a major threat this season, having set four National Record (NR’s) and mostly finishing in the top three positions in his races both indoors and outdoors.
His NR’s are: Indoors – 600m (1:17.19), 800m (1:46.67), 1000m (2:21.00) and outdoor 800m (1:45.60), thereby arguably making him Nigeria’s best middle distance runner in history.
Not only does his running career have an encouraging resume, but his academic prowess is one that can be emulated by young athletes as well. These and many more got us inquisitive on chatting with the highly improving runner, who’s putting Nigeria on global athletics map in the middle distance events.
Born in USA to Nigerian parents who both hail from Edo State, Ibadin started athletics just so he could have an extracurricular activity that’ll look good on his college applications.
“I got started in athletics in my second year of high school (age 15 going on 16). I joined the team because I wanted to do an extracurricular activity that would look good on my college applications, along with my good grades. I chose athletics because I always liked running and I was faster than most of my classmates in my gym class.”
This eventually worked out well as he got a track scholarship from Hampton University, where he graduated in 2015 with honours in Computer Engineering and finished as their best middle distance runner ever.
His achievements before graduation were: three-times second team All-American, six school records (800m indoor and outdoor, 4x400m indoor and outdoor), DMR and SMR. He was also three-times Conference Champion in the 800m and 4x400m.
After college, the standout runner decided to focus majorly on athletics before going back for his second engineering degree at Townson University in 2016, in so doing setting a perfect example to young athletes on combining sports and education.
“I went back to school in 2016-2018 to do my Master’s degree in Information Technology and Software Engineering. My main focus is athletics but I do plan to start some side projects to keep my mind engaged and continue learning.”
“My perfect advice to young athletes attempting to go in my career and educational path, would be to fully dedicate time to what they’re currently doing. If you’re at practice, don’t think about education and when you’re in the classroom or studying, focus on that. Everything is possible with proper time management. Sometimes even doing sports will improve your grades because you have less time to study, but you have to take full advantage of that time because you don’t have as much. Sometimes, people take the large amount of time for granted.”
In 2017, Ibadin had a conflict of choice deciding on his international commitment, due to his dual citizenship as an American by birth and a Nigerian by roots. Eventually he chose the latter, though he competed at the 2016 US Olympic trials where he got to the 800m semi-finals.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to be honest. I actually ran at the US trials in 2016, some people reached out to me afterwards saying I should represent Nigeria, especially since I was steadily improving each year. So after a lot of thoughts and prayer, I decided to run for Nigeria in 2017.”
Deciding to run for the green and white colours has so far been an awesome decision. One which has seen him make his debut at the 2017 World Championships, be a finalist at the 2018 African Championships, and as stated earlier set four NR’s this year; thereby gradually warming his way into Nigerian athletics faithful’s.
“Representing Nigeria has been amazing, especially in an event that a lot of Nigerians don’t usually run. It’s been awesome being able to represent where I’m rooted from. My expectations have been met for the most part.”
“One of the reasons I chose to represent Nigeria, was because I saw that it was underrepresented in the 800m and I wanted to change that. I want to bring a ton of attraction to the event, show people that you can run the 800m and be world class as a Nigerian. I’ve been able to own four NR’s because of my awesome training partners and coach. We all push each other by just putting in good steady work every day. I own a lot to them to be honest.”
True to his words, he’s worked hard to not just be a world class Nigerian 800m runner but also secure money deals along with it, when he recently signed a professional contract with giant shoe manufacturing company, Under Armour (UA).
Though the shoe companies are always more attracted to the dominant European and East African athletes, he has changed the narrative which he credits to his hard working coach and training group at District Track Club (DTC).
“So basically the training group I’m in has built a solid relationship with UA over the past 3.5 years through various events. UA is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland which is only less than an hour from where we train. We helped them with a special track meet for high schoolers, which resulted in a huge jump in their sales. After that they decided to sponsor some of us in the group, and it also helped that a lot of us have improved over the past couple of years as well.”
“I believe our coach (Tom Brumlik) does a great job of catering workouts to our specific level. We all just work really well together and put in good solid work. We are all able to get it done by any means necessary, trying our best to have a positive mind-set when approaching everything as well. I also believe our coach does a good job of picking out people who had a lot of untapped potential in college and make them better when they come out here.”
STRIDE, HIGH AND LOW MOMENTS
Every athlete has these three important moments in their careers, and the experienced software engineer isn’t an exception.
“I think the biggest impact I’ve had on my career are all the lessons I’ve learned throughout. I believe that track and field has made me a better person overall. Lessons that I will be able to carry with me far beyond the sport.”
“The second biggest impact for me would be earning a scholarship to college alongside running 1:46 the first time. A couple of years ago, running 1:45 meant a lot to me to the point where I thought about doing it every day. So I’m glad I was able to run that time and qualify for London 2017 with it.”
“Some of the low points in my career include not being on the Gold Coast team, I was fit but I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t selected. Another low moment would be when I failed to qualify for the national meet in college in 2013.”
2019 GOALS & CAREER TARGETS
Ibadin has qualified for both the African Games in Rabat, Morocco and World Championships in Doha, Qatar which are the two major competitions for the season.
He hasn’t won an international medal for the country yet but that’s not the major goal this season, instead running a consistent 1:44 as this will be a massive step to changing his international medal cabinet.
“My goals for 2019 are to make the World Championships team, run 1:44 consistently maybe even 1:43, be a smart racer, stay on top of the little things that will help me get better. Overall stay healthy as well. I do plan to be at the African Games as well, hope to get selected and will even like to run the 4x400m as well.”
Like every professional athlete’s dream is to compete at Diamond League meets, he’s also looking forward to this and modestly summarises his ambitions on having a successful career.
“Future targets are to compete in the Diamond League and other major championships. At the end of my career, I hope to have at least one international medal, be a consistent finalist, become an Olympian, and hopefully run at least in the 1:43 range.”
Suggesting that the learned runner will upset the big names by probably getting a medal in Doha, is certainly an ambiguous thought to dwell on. However, with the meteoric rise he’s had this season, it’s only a matter of time before such thoughts becomes a reality.