Ebuka Enekwechi excited by World Championship qualification
In our article on Tuesday, we told you how Nigerian athletes are starting to gain grounds and are hitting World Championships standard in their various events.
Before now, 400m specialist Samson Nathaniel was the only Nigerian male athlete known to us to have qualified for the Championships. It has been brought to our notice that National Shot Put champion, Ebuka Enekwechi has also qualified for the Championships in London.
In May at the Guadeloupe Invitational in France which saw Paul Dedewo run a lifetime best of 45.14s in the 400m. Enekwechi also participated in the Shot Put and it was his first pro meet since graduating from Purdue University last year.
Ebuka Enekwechi about to throw at 2017 Guadeloupe Invitational, France.
He upset some of the best throwers in the world as he finished second behind Rio Olympic Gold medalist, Ryan Crouser who won in a distance of 21.79m. Enekwechi threw a distance of 20.67m to surpass the World Championship entry standard of 20.50m. 2015 World Bronze medalist and Rio finalist O’Dayne Richards from Jamaica was third in 20.44m.
“This is my first year as a “professional”. To me performing better than the World A standard is a good sign that I belong in this sport! My efforts are beginning to pay off.” He said while speaking with theathleticheat.com.
Ebuka studied Law and Society at Purdue University in Indiana, USA. He spent four out of his five years there competing for the school team, Boilermakers. He is a 13-time All-American that qualified for the NCAA Championships, both indoor and outdoor.
Speaking on his best moments at Purdue, he said
“Well, I also did the weight throw and hammer throw in college. Throwing the weight 24.39m (80′) was one of my proudest moments. Throwing the hammer 72.77m to win my second of three straight Conference Championships was also a great moment for me. I was coming off a hand injury and as soon as I returned from the Championships I broke the 70m barrier.”
In 2016, Enekwechi became the first male thrower since Brain Kiser (Shot Put specialist) in 1989 to win Purdue Athlete of the Year. He attributed his achievements to his desire to score points for his school team and discipline.
“The biggest thing for me was the desire to score points for my team. Whenever I train and compete I always think of the people that are depending on me and that gives me motivation. I built up my body since freshman year all the way until now to be as strong as possible.
He continued, “Also trying to be as obedient and coachable as possible allowed me to perform well on a weekly basis which translated to the big competitions as well. I didn’t look at myself as a specialist of one event. At any given moment, I just threw what they needed me to throw as far as I possible could.”
Just like many, Ebuka Enekwechi found it difficult combining sports with education.
“My major was pre-law. If it was law school, it would have been a lot more difficult. Still it wasn’t easy since I would always be very sore and tired and lacked motivation for school or athletics at times because of it. It takes some serious discipline to balance both. I never partied or drank alcohol in order to have the energy to do as well as I could.” Enekwechi said.
Enekwechi had a busy senior year as he earned four first team All-American honors along with dominating the Big Ten’s top individual field honors. He was selected as the Great Lakes Region Field Athlete of the Year Indoors and out.
Also in 2016, he became the first 3-time Big Ten hammer throw champion in Conference history . He established new Purdue records in four events during his career and swept the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and of the Championships award as a senior.
What we should expect from him at the London Championships.
“I would like to make the final. That’s my number one goal right now. If I can do that, I’ll put myself in position to upset some of the top contenders for a medal.” The US-born athlete said.
Ebuka was born Queens, New York, USA to Nigerian parents and he made his debut appearance at the All Nigeria Championships in 2016 where he won in 19.60m. He narrowly missed out of the Rio Olympics qualification by 5cm.
We look forward to see more Nigerian athletes qualify before the deadline on 23rd July which is less than 7 weeks from now.