Noah Akwu, MTSU 200m sprinter made the Nigerian Olympic team. I saw him in June training on the MTSU track and asked him, "starting kind of early, aren't ya?" ... thinking the college season was long over. He said he was training for the Nigerian Nationals. Well he made it, just qualifying for the Olympic 200m Standard (20.55) by running 20.54 in his last chance meet on July 6. Awesome!!!
Even more competitive will be MTSU grad long jumper Stanley Gbagbeke. He uncorked an Olympic A Standard jump of 8.20m or 26'11" back in June.
What an experience these guys are going to have.
The great thing about running in college track meets is sitting along side guys like Noah when we lace up our spikes. Noah was at nearly every college meet I ran in this season, and also at the Penn Relays. You would think these African kids would find it a bit funny to see an old slow white guy in the starting blocks... but I've received nothing but kind words and polite respect from these guys. An acceptance of sorts that has been valuable and meaningful to me.
I don't know Stanley, but I do know Noah. He is the nicest guy. I hope the best for these guys because participation is more valuable than winning. I have to remember that as i advance in my age group and stop winning medals.
Wow... if one would want a memorable Olympic experience, Noah Akwu just had one: he drew heat 1 lane six, right alongside Usain Bolt! He represented himself well... running a 20.67, finishing 5th in his heat but sadly, missed qualifying for the semifinals by just one one-hundreth of a second (0.01). There were 2 slower sprinters that qualified (20.72) for the semis by placing 2nd and 3rd in their heat.
|MTSU's Noah Akwu left of Usain Bolt in the 200m Olympic round one|