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03.08.2021 Extra PROFILE: Enoch Adegoke: Built for Athletics, ‘Running for Revelation’

Published 3rd Aug, 2021

By Tola Owoyele

Enoch Adegoke’s participation in the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Olympics 100metres final might have ended on a sour note, but his overall performance is something he can remain proud of.

As a matter of a fact, the 21-year-old athlete has broken a jinx by becoming the first man in 25 years to represent Nigeria at the finals of the 100m men’s event of the Olympic games. Davidson Ezinwa was the last Nigerian to achieve this feat at the Atlanta games in 1996.

‘HE WAS BUILT FOR THIS’

Enoch Adegoke at the Olympics

Enoch Obaloluwa Adegoke was born on March 8 2000 in Igbeti-Okeogun, Oyo State. His athletics journey officially started at Federal Government College, Ikirun, Osun State, where he had his secondary school education. It was at this time he became friends with Alaba Akintola, who is also an athlete.

“After our secondary school days, I left athletics for a while. Adegoke was the one insisting I should return to the sport,” said Akintola during an interview with the New Telegraph.

“He will call me and be like, we have been doing this thing together all these years, come and let’s return together. You can do it man. So I decided to meet my coach in school, the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), and that was how we started working things out.”

Adegoke shot into limelight at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, when he  won the West African University Games title in a record time of 10.21s in 2018. He has since become a constant feature in the Nigerian athletics realm, representing Edo state at the 20th National Sports Festival and winning gold in the 100m event for men. Presently, he is the reigning Nigerian champion with a personal best of 10.00s.

“Enoch was built for this,” says Alayonimi, a friend of the athlete, on Twitter.  “Due to limited resources, we would source ice blocks from all over during the lockdown so he could have a cold bath and gain proper body conditioning. He would never complain. Instead, he would have the bath and go on to perform wonders when sprinting.”

THE HUMBLE AND PURPOSE-DRIVEN CHAMPION

Agoke on the tracks

In most videos that have been seen of him, the champion often prefers to first pose for a picture with the electronic board carrying his returning time, and then a few more poses with his fingers indicating the victory sign. After this, he walks off the tracks with a demeanour that not only depicts humility, but also tells everyone that he is a “Man on a Mission.”

At the 2021 Nigerian Olympic Trials and Invitational Relay where he won, returning in a time of 9.97s (wind assisted), rather than celebrate wildly like most athletes would, he simply took pictures with the electronic board, drank from a bottle of water that was handed to him and walked off looking down.

In his Agust 1 article for the sporting site makingofchamps.com, Christopher Maduewesi had this to say about Adegoke: “For someone who has only been a national athlete for three years, his humility is quite admirable and it shows in his mantra – “Running by Revelation.”

THE BRIGHT SIDE AND ACCOLADES

Enoch Adegoke during a race

Adegoke returned in 9.98s to win his 100m heat at the Olympics, thus becoming the 11th man from Nigeria to return under the 10s mark. He achieved this at 21. According to experts and track and field events enthusiast, the world should expect performances reminiscent of Usain Bolt from the Nigerian star in the coming years, based on what has been observed of him so far.

Despite the disappointing end to his performance at the 2020 Olympics, the athlete has continued receive commendation from Nigerians. While speaking to journalists in Benin City on August 1, Philip Shuaibu, the Edo State Deputy Governor, said of the athlete: “Edo people are very proud of the performance of Enoch Adegoke. He was a medal hopeful until that muscle pull. The incident in the final was unfortunate, as his takeoff was very good just about 40 to 50 meters before the bad luck in the game caught up with him. We will celebrate with him.”

PRONE TO INJURIES

It has however been revealed that the athlete, who is popular for his trademark ‘Bullet Start’ when taking off, is prone to injuries. This has also limited him from featuring in lucrative athletic events since he made it to the big stage. It was once reported that he suffered a two-month lay-off that almost put his participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in jeopardy. Unfortunately, the most recent and costliest injury occurred this year at the Olympics 100m final race.

“For someone who has a lot of muscles, consistent therapeutic sessions are required so as to keep him in good shape and avoid freak injuries such has the one that prevented him from finishing the race in Tokyo,” Jude Orji, a sports physician, said about him.

A STAR IS BORN

Enoch Adegoke in 2018

Despite the disappointing outcome in his final race at the games, many already see Adegoke as the king of the tracks Nigeria has been bereft of over the years. With proper body condition monitoring and consistent participation in athletic meets, such as the Diamond League, it is only a matter of time before he starts dominating the tracks and winning medals for Nigeria.

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Published 3rd Aug, 2021

By Tola Owoyele

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