Nse Imaobong Uko, created one of the biggest upsets in Nigeria Athletics history by winning the 19th National Sports Festival 400m title in Abuja, defeating more experienced veterans in the event.
The Akwa Ibom State native showed a flash of her talent when she placed 2nd in the heats in a then Personal Best (PB) of 55.29s, before going on to drop it further by over 2s in the semis clocking 53.20s.
Not intimidated by her senior competitors in the final, the 14yr old came through to snatch a heroic and record breaking win at the finish line, slashing yet another chunk off her PB with new one of 52.36s.
This time can be a new World Record (WR) for her age bracket if ratified by the IAAF, as the current WR stands at 52.54s set by USA’s Kayla Davis in 2017.
DISCOVERY AND ATHLETICS FOUNDATION
Uko’s first exposure to track was in 2017, at Governor Udom’s catch them young Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival, where she won the 400m. After the festival, she was taken up by her coach Effiong Ubong, who trains her on a sandy beach in her village in Ubono.
Coach Effiong trained her to the 2018 National U15 Youth Games in Ilorin back in September, her first competition this year. She won the 200m and 400m in a then supposed fast 55.73s, not knowing she had a world breaking time (until ratified) in her legs.
Noticing her talent couldn’t just be left alone on a sandy beach, the state’s athletics secretary brought her to the state’s capital, Uyo, where she was handed to be trained by coach Daniel Umoette, who trained her to her Gold medal winning performance at NSF, including the medals won by other athletes from the state.
In this video, the super talented youngster talks about her background, the impact Nigerian quatermile veteran Patience Okon-George played in her winning the 19th NSF 400m title, who her role model is (you’ll be surprised), her target for 2019, and her dream of sometime winning at the Olympics.