Edoburun’s golden progress through the ranks

Ojie Edoburun at the Bydoszcz 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships
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Ojie Edoburun at the Bydoszcz 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships

With his powerful, high thigh lift, Great Britain’s Ojie Edoburun is one of the most recognisable young sprinters in the sport.

When he charged down the home straight at the Bydgoszcz 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships last week, usually at the front of the pack or very close to it, there was no mistaking who was running.

Firstly, last Friday, the North Londoner won 100m gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships and then on Sunday, he anchored Great Britain to 4x100m relay silver.

With the focus of attention for European Athletics shifting from the U23 ranks to U20 as that category stages its biennial continental championships in the Italian city of Grosseto this week, anyone seeking inspiration of their importance and how the link together does not need to look further than the success of Edoburun.

In Eskilstuna in 2015, he won the 100m when the last European Athletics U20 Championships were staged.

He triumphed there in 10.36 and his next step then was Bydgoszcz two years down the road and what an outcome it was, going through the gears in the second half of the race before winning in 10.14 and immediately setting himself his next target.

“Hopefully I will make the team for Berlin [the Berlin 2018 European Championships] next year and shoot to get the senior gold. That will be three, which will be great,” said the North Londoner.

Berlin, of course, is the stage of next summer’s track and field action as Glasgow stages the aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon as part of the first European Championships.

In the moments after his win in Poland, Edoburun was already looking towards more glory, because that is what happens. Success can breed success as he is finding on this European stage.

“It is a nice double and it is good to follow up the potential I have shown as a junior,” reflected Edoburun.

“Now, I want the senior one. I have learned a lot about myself since 2015. Although I won, I didn’t feel I was confident in myself. I ran 10.16 when I was 18 in 2014; hat year after I was just searching for times.

“Last year, being able to go to the Rio Olympics (as part of the 4x100m relay) taught me that I feel I am good enough to be on the world stage and told me to trust my ability more and coming into this season, that is what it has all been about.

“I haven’t had the best start (in races) but I was confident in my finish, and that is what has pulled me through. I feel like I have developed so much this season for when the time is right to move to the seniors.”

Edoburun trains at Lee Valley in a group which includes the likes of leading British senior CJ Ujah and is very level-headed in his approach to the sport and what lies ahead.

He has one more year to go studying for his Sports Science degree at Middlesex University and is heading into the senior ranks of an event which is about to lose its greatest performer and showman, with Usain Bolt retiring at the end of this summer.

Edoburun said: “It is an exciting time because there is now going to be a new guy in the sprints.

“It might be like in the day when there was a random person winning every event, whereas for us the past 10 years you know Bolt is going to win when he steps on the track.

“A lot of young guys across the world have stepped up to the senior ranks. It is motivating because it gives me the belief I can do it as well. Everyone feels that they can be that next guy, but I am in no rush.

“My aim for the season was to be the best version of myself. I have managed to go under my old personal best a few times this year and I have managed to go sub-10 a few times windy. It has been good.

“I am not rushing my progress. Whenever the time is right for me to step up and be that guy, I am sure I will be ready for it.”

Just as he was in Eskilstuna and just as he was in Bydgoszcz, and just as he hopes to be in Berlin.