Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rio '16: Seye Ogunlewe - the Nigerian who almost ran for Ireland

Remember Seye Ogunlewe?
In 2009 and 2010,  the Nigerian-born Seye, who was a pupil at the King's Hospital in Palmerstown,  won sprints titles at the All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships in Tullamore.
It looked - briefly - as if he would sign up for Ireland when he recorded a  200m qualifying time  of 21. 50 secs for the World Junior Championships. However his application for a passport was delayed and he contacted an old school teacher in Lagos who was associated with Nigerian athletics. In the end,  he didn't make the World Juniors for either country.
Mark Kavanagh, Seye Ogunlewe, Richard Okaje Agha. senior  200m.
With a father who was a former  Minister of Works, Seye's family was adamant that sport and education must go hand in hand.  So it was that after his two years in Ireland,  Seye embarked on a degree course in  law and politics at the University of Essex. He continues to live and train in England  where is is coached by Prince Dewai and is a member of Newham and Essex Beagles.
While a student, Seye competed regularly at BUCS competitions, winning his first medal in 2011, when he took silver in the 60m at the BUCS Indoor Championships. After two more silvers in 2012 and 2014, he finally won the title in 2015. He also won the BUCS 100m in 2013; in 2014, he placed second behind Adam Gemili. In 2012, he won the 60m at the Woodies DIY Irish Indoors in Belfast with a time of 6.79 secs.
Seye  ran the 200m for Nigeria at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where he finished fourth in his heat. In 2015,  after winning the Nigerian 100m title, he competing at the All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, making the 100m final and running the anchor leg for Nigeria in the 4 x 100m; the team finished second but was disqualified for a bungled baton change.
Earlier this year, aged 24 and with his studies behind him, he successfully defended his national 100m title running a personal best time of 10.12 seconds and booked his place on the Nigerian team for the Rio Olympics. Most recently, he ran 10.17 secs for 100m at the Lee Valley Summer Sprint Series Open.
Seye is just one of five King's Hospital past pupils on the Irish squad for Rio '16. The other four are steeplechaser Sara Treacy, modern pentathlete Natalya Coyle (who both competed in the tetrathlon as youngsters), dressage rider Judy Reynolds and  Camilla Speirs, who is the reserve for the eventing team. St Andrew's has four past pupils in Rio, all of them on the men's hockey team.
Update: Seye finished 4th in Heat 1 of the 100m. His time of 10.26 secs, putting him 34th fastest overall.

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