The name Enoch Adegoke began resounding in the Nigerian media space on Saturday 31st July after recording a blistering run of 9.98s to win his 100 metres heat in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, thereby becoming the 11th born Nigerian to break the 10 seconds barrier.

Unbeknownst to many, Adegoke started his athletic journey in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and represented them at the Nigerian University Games Association in 2017 and the West Africa University Games in 2018, where he won Gold in the 100metres finals. He is a testament to the fact that talent discovery in universities is a crucial determinant to the holistic development of grassroots sport in Africa.

Adegoke would go on to represent Nigeria at the  2018 Commonwealth Games in both the 100 metres and the 4×100 metres relay. In the 100 metres Adegoke won both his heat and semi-final to progress to the final where he finished seventh in a time of 10.35 seconds, 0.32 seconds behind gold medalist Akani Simbine from South Africa.


The Olympic qualification wasn’t a smooth sail for him as he had to compete against fellow compatriots like Usheoritse Itsekiri and Jerry Jakpa to become the reigning Nigerian champion, winning the 100m title at the National Championships two months ago in Lagos with a then Personal Best of 10.00s. 

Speaking with MakingofChamps after achieving his personal best record of 9.98s in the Men’s 100 m heat, Adegoke said: “ Winning my race with a personal best feels great, I’m excited about this. It’s been a long time coming and I thank God for the result. God has said it and He has done it….. It felt like a dream qualifying for the Olympics and coming here, but then along the line I noticed it was a reality.”

Adegoke qualified for the Men’s 100 m finals after finishing 2nd in heat 2 of the 100m semis clocking an identical 10.00s with Trayvon Bromell which required the utilisation of the photo finish rule to decide who progresses to the final. Adegoke became Nigeria’s first 100m male Olympic finalist since 1996, 25 years after Davidson Ezinwa in Atlanta 96. 

Unfortunately, a hamstring injury during the Men’s 100 m final prevented Adegoke from completing what many would describe as a fantastic Olympic experience. 

The positives are what we will take from this: Nigeria has a huge potential in her hands, an Olympic debut by Adegoke led to her first final in the Olympic men’s 100 meters, there is no telling the possibilities of this young man who describes his races as running by revelation. It is great news for Nigeria, Africa, and University sports.