After winning the U20 Men’s 400m Hurdles title at the recently concluded 2019 National U18 and U20 Trials in Ilaro, Ogun State in a time of 52.88s, David Olowookere has now set his sight on dipping below the 50second mark this year.
The 18-year old Kwara-based athlete saw off stiff competition in ambient conditions and managed a sore knee to emerge champion at the Trials organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to select athletes for the U20 African Championships billed to hold in Abidjan, Ivory Coast next month.
Ideally, Olowookere would have loved to post a faster time at the season-opening meet but he says “more is coming” having also started the 2018 season in similar circumstances.
He opened the 2018 season with a time of 52.91s when he won silver at the AFN Golden League in Port Harcourt in February and also ran 53.93s at the Common Wealth Games trials held in March before going on to obliterate Martins Egberase’s 27 year old record set at the Bauchi games in 1991 on his way to winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja.
Speaking to busybuddiesng.com in the aftermath of his victory in Ogun State, Olowookere said his winning time of 52.88s was a “good opener” and expressed confidence that he would dip below the 49s mark sometime this season and has his eyes set on erasing the Nigerian record of 48.50s set by Henry Amike in 1987.
“I am so happy and grateful to God for my exploits although I was not close to my Personal Best at the meet due to my knee injury and the bad weather because it was raining but I’m happy that I ran 52.88s as a season opener,” he told busybuddiesng.com.
“More is still coming, I’m so grateful because I could remember last year in February when I ran my first Personal Best of 52.91s and at the end of the year, last season I ran 51.70s and I know it’s ok. It’s a good opener.
“I know when I would be running later this year, I would run something very good I would be running about 48s this year.”
It is a mark Olowookere believes is achievable at the U20 African Championship in Ivory Coast where he has set his sights on emerging victorious in the 400m hurdles for Nigeria.
“My plans towards the U18 [and] U20 Championsips in Ivory Coast, Abidjan is to come back home with a gold medal for the country and running a personal best of 48s over there and I know God will help us,” he said.