Nigeria announced a new sprints sensation to the world at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when Enoch Adegoke stunned more experienced athletes to win his Heat in a Personal Best (PB) of 10.19s, followed this up with a 10.24s win in the semis, and eventually a stage fright 7th place finish in the final.
This made him the first and perhaps youngest Nigerian, to get to the men’s 100m finals of the Commonwealth Games since 2002. A feat he achieved on his first international outing for Nigeria, meaning he had never donned the colours of the country at any age group level.
His jaw dropping performance in Australia, berth a year that’ll be described as a lukewarm season plagued with injuries, but highlighted by some high moments.
The highs include winning the West African University Games (WAUG) title in 10.21s, and getting the Bronze medal at the National Sports Festival (NSF). These highlights are what the 18yr old describes as a season full of many lessons, when asked to reflect on his breakout year.
“Every single occurrence taught me different lessons, also as to react to life challenges. I can’t forget when I won the Commonwealth trials. Seriously, my expectation was to qualify, I never knew I would win. It was a joyful moment for me.
My greatest moments I would say were all through my races at the Commonwealth Games, especially the Heats (the support from all over Nigeria was just overwhelming). And when I won WAUG, because I was just recovering from a major injury.
In between these periods, injury was a major challenge and a lot of things in which I had to face alone. Smiles, one funny and very common thing is when you’re left alone to face your woes alone. But all through, seriously God was faithful. The comeback was worth it. Thank God for festival. A good way to end the season.”
And on his disappointment of Nigeria failing to send a team to the World Junior Championships, though he was a huge medal contender plus not qualifying for the final at the African Championships in Asaba:
“Well I thought of it for days even though the memory still lingers because I was dropped from Bydgoszcz 2016 too. But one thing is sure amidst every disappointment, there is always an iota of challenge to move on. With God’s Grace, I forgot about it and just focused on what was next then.
Seriously, those times were hard. But I just knew they would surely pass and it did. Tough times don’t last, tough and strong men do. Then WAUG came and it was a Blast.”
WAUG really was a blast, running 0.03s shy off his PB proved Australia, was no fluke and he was really here to stay as Nigeria’s next sprints sensation.
“The jubilation afterwards (WAUG) shows it all. I was ‘overjoyed’. The journey en-route winning was rough, that’s what made me celebrate much. God made it possible. Nothing much, God.”
Adegoke doesn’t hide his faith in God, in fact he boldly declares this on all his social media platforms and has his bio as “Running by Revelation”. When asked to explain this further, he simply says:
“It’s a mystery actually, it means running on the strength of the spirit, simply 1Kings 18:46. That’s my motivation for running. I heard God’s voice before embarking on this journey, so I know no matter what may come my way, he’s got it all.”
- “I want to be the first Nigerian to win a Diamond League title.” – Princess Kara
- “I didn’t do my best at the Youth Olympics, now I want to make the World Championships team.” – Favour Ofili
- Meet Nse Imaobong Uko, Nigeria’s new 400m WONDERKID!
His journey in Athletics has been on a meteoric rise since 2015, when he started training professionally with Coach Ayokunle Odelusi at Obafemi Awolowo University.
He has dropped at least 0.20s from his PB yearly, and with his average times in 2018 which arguably stamps his name as Nigeria’s best home based speedster, pundits and athletes now see him as the country’s next sprinter to run a sub-10s in over 10 years. This accolade he’ll shyly take humbly and say:
“Huh…Best home based? Well, thank God for that. 9secs!!! Lol… God makes everything beautiful in his own time. Soonest I believe, by God’s Grace.”
Now focused on the 2019 season, which will require him qualifying for three major Championships (African Juniors, World Championships and African Games), the speedster is highly optimistic he can qualify for all three which are his major goals for the year.
“Firstly, I want to qualify for all international competitions this year. Yes, it’s possible and it will happen. Seriously, I just believe this season will unfold greater and better achievements than past years even beyond just qualifying for Championships.”
Adegoke, is on a mission to change the narrative of Nigeria’s male sprinters not winning medals at international competitions in over a decade. He’s super talented enough to do this – If well supported and managed, Nigeria may have her biggest sprints revelation in the next 10 or more years.