Tag Archives: Tyron Akins

Tyron Akins leads Team Africa against strong 110m Hurdles field @ Continental Cup!

11 Sep

Nigerian and African 110m Hurdles champion, Tyron Akins, will face the world’s best hurdlers in Marrakech as the IAAF Continental Cup takes center stage this weekend.

Akins, who recently switched allegiances from Team USA to Nigeria, emerged national 110 hurdles champion at the National Trials in Calabar in June and has not looked back since. The Continental Cup will become the third international outing for the hurdler who is keen on maintaining his winning streak.

His first appearance for Nigeria was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he missed out on the finals, finishing seventh in the heats with 13.77s. However Tyrone more than made up for this disappointment by leading teammates Alex Al-Ameen and Martins Ogierakhi in a clean sweep of all the medals at stake in the 110 hurdles at the African Championships last month.

He posted a time of 13.57s, while Al-Ameen and Ogierakhi clocked 13.78s and 13.80s respectively. The last time Nigeria won the 110m hurdles was in 1996 when national record holder in the event, William Erese mounted the podium in Yaounde, Cameroun!

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After the race, an excited Akins said, “Well I feel good because our goal when we were coming here was 1-2-3. We never said Tyron you win, and this guy second or any of that. It was strictly 1-2-3. We were going to push each other like we always do. I knew I had a pretty good start so those guys know I was going to get out of the blocks, so once I get out, you come with me and we gonna be good to go.

“I know that these guys are going to come towards the end. Martins is a strong competitor so he’s going to be there all through the race. Our goal was accomplished; it was 1-2-3. It could have gone either way; he could have won, we could have run 14s as long as Nigeria won the medals, that was what we were worried about but the focus was 1-2-3.”

Despite an unprecedented 1-2-3 finish in Marrakech however, Akins will be without his Nigerian teammates at the Continental Cup, where athletes from the same nation cannot represent their continent in the same event. Instead he will partner with South Africa’s Ruan De Vries who finished fourth at the African Championships. Akins’ Season’s Best of 13.56s puts him at  63rd  in the world rankings this year, while the South African follows ten places after with a time of 13.62s.

Leading the Americas team is World No.3, Ronnie Ash of the USA who is the only sub-13s performer in the field (12.99s). Cuba’s Yodan O’Farrill is No.10 with 13.19s. Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov (13.13s) is world No.5 this year and finished 2nd in the IAAF Diamond League standings after Pascal Martinot-Lagarde who amassed 27points.  William Sharman of Team GB is No.7 with a time of 13.16s, while No.14, Xie Wenjun of China (13.23s) and Abdulaziz Al-Mandeel (63rd) would represent the Asian-Pacific interest.

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Tyron Akins will be representing Team Africa in the men’s 110m hurdles on Sunday Sept 14th at 6.45pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm

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Tyron Akins, Nigerian and African 110m Hurdles Champion, ready to give his ALL for his new country!

16 Aug

Nigeria won an unprecedented 1-2-3 in the 100m Hurdles at the African Championships this week, and MAKING OF CHAMPIONS exclusively caught up with the three medallists, Tyron Akins, Alex Al-Ameen and Martins Ogieriakhi, trackside immediately after the race. 

(L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi after medals ceremony, where they got Silver, GOLD and Bronze respectively in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 African Championships

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi after medals ceremony, where they got Silver, GOLD and Bronze respectively in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 African Championships!

In recent weeks, we have spoken much about the controversy surrounding the Americans who recently switched to compete for Team Nigeria. Though Akins was initially reluctant to speak to us again following what we’ve written about them on these pages, he decided to use it as an opportunity to air his grievances on our coverage of their stories, and to let ALL Nigerians know what it means to him to have been given the opportunity to run for Nigeria! See the full interview transcript below:

Akins: When I read what you guys had written, I was so taken aback because when I did the interview with you it was all out of love. I was like mehn I’m happy; this is my first time of being here; like this is unbelievable and then I read the thing and it came off as so negative, like these guys are just coming in and there is controversy and all that. The Nigerian people have done nothing but openly welcome us, so it hurt me to read it, honestly.

MoC: We appreciate this and we’re glad you can talk about this and we respect that. There are a lot of people hurting in Nigeria as well because they feel like they are losing their opportunities to develop because you guys are coming in to take their spots, and they don’t seem to be getting even nearly the same support as you guys are. We appreciate that you’re still willing to speak up on this issue, because you will need your voice to be heard in Nigeria, otherwise you may have an uphill battle in winning over the masses…

Akins: Absolutely! I know that and I don’t have a problem with that because I’m dedicated to Nigeria – that is why I have this shirt on. There are people who are missing out on opportunities but the thing about athletics is this – what this does is that the people who are missing out on opportunities have to go back and re-evaluate and say hey, there is something I’ve got to change. This guy here (Martins Ogierakhi), when I came in he could have said we have Ty here and all that, but he stepped up to the occasion. This guy ran a PB (Personal Best) two weeks back to back. He beat me in Warri, you see what I’m saying? He stepped up to the occasion and its paying off. We are together on the podium now. I just want you to know that I love Nigeria.

Al-Ameen: I know that there is a lot of controversy and in my situation, people say they don’t know my background and stuff. The reason why I switched was not because I couldn’t make the team in England; it’s because I’m Nigerian, my father is Nigerian, and I would want to represent Nigeria. This year I ran a PB coming into these championships. It wasn’t so last year so I’m grateful to be running with these guys. We are the best in Nigeria at the moment; it’s a good day for Nigeria.

Akins: Like I said, even Martins (Ogieriakhi) has run his PB this year, because we’re all pushing each other. You see what I’m saying? We swept the hurdles in the African Champs. I’m giving my all to Nigeria. As a matter of fact, me and my coach are trying to do something where I can come to Lagos and Warri and talk to some of the kids about maybe coming to school in the US, so when you wrote the negative stuff it really hurt me because it was borderline disrespectful – I would never take advantage of a place or come to Nigeria because it is an easier way or something like that. Every time you step on the track it’s gonna be hard. Competition everywhere. Anybody could have won that race today so I never take track and field for granted. 

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi being awarded their Silver, GOLD and Bronze Medals respectively by AFN President, Solomon Ogba

L-R, Alex Al-Ameen, Tryon Akins & Martins Ogieriakhi being awarded their Silver, GOLD and Bronze Medals respectively by AFN President, Solomon Ogba

MoC: So let’s get to the race. Congratulations! It was a clean sweep for Nigeria in the 110m hurdles. Tyron you won that race with 13.57s. Talk us through the race, how did you feel?

Akins: Well I feel good because our goal when we were coming here was 1-2-3. We never said Tyron you win, and this guy second or any of that. It was strictly 1-2-3. We were going to push each other like we always do. I knew I had a pretty good start so those guys know I was going to get out of the blocks, so once I get out, you come with me and we gonna be good to go. I know that these guys are going to come towards the end. Martins is a strong competitor so he’s going to be there all through the race. Our goal was accomplished, it was 1-2-3. It could have gone either way; he could have won, we could have run 14s as long as Nigeria won the medals, that was what we were worried about but the focus was 1-2-3.

MoC: Do you feel like this makes up for just missing out on the finals at the Commonwealth games?

Akins: Missing out on the finals in the Commonwealth Games was because I didn’t have any races. My last before the Commonwealth Games was trials, so I went a whole month without races, so I wasn’t really sharp. It hurt me dearly because I want to really represent the country to the best of my ability and I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t in the finals, but this is a sort of redemption so I’m pleased with it.

MoC: Alex, let’s come to you very quickly, you were in the final at the Commonwealth Games, and 2nd here, which is your first silverware for Team Nigeria, a Silver medal in Africa. How does it feel?

Al-Ameen: Well it feels good and I would say it was great that we did a 1-2-3. I was coming here to win but I’m happy that my teammate got it. I did make the final at the Commonwealth Games and it was a great achievement of mine because I put it down as one of my goals for the year, and to get silverware as well. I didn’t do as well as I could have in the final today, but I am so happy that I can win a Silver medal for Nigeria and myself.

MoC: Martins I’m going to come to you very quickly. You were the National Sports Festival champion in 2012, and won the title twice before that as well?

Ogieriakhi: I have won it three times back to back: 2009, 2011 and 2012.

MoC: Wow! So is this your first medal for Nigeria at a global competition?

Ogieriakhi: Yeah, this is my first medal and I am very happy. I was going for the first position. Seeing Tyron by my side, I had to push forward and I had to tell myself ‘I won’t let him go, I won’t let him go!’ Both of them pushed me to place 3rd in this very race, so I am very happy.

MoC: Where do you go to from here now? More medals for Nigeria?

Ogieriakhi: Yeah! We said it yesterday that we were going to place first, second, third here, so hopefully we can do more.

MoC: Tyron, we’re going to end with you. We know that the Nigerian press including ourselves have given you guys a lot of heat since you switched to Nigeria. Can you tell us what this medal means to you?

Akins: It means so much because I expect to get the heat; you’re doing your job and I respect that but at the same time I just want to let you know that this is not just something that I take for granted. I’m very very serious about this. This is something that is very dear to my heart so. Like I said when I read what you had written I was so shocked because when I did the interview I didn’t get that vibe at all, but to get this medal and not only that, to get this 1-2-3 sweep for Nigeria is so overwhelming; it’s hard to put it in words. I think we were so close in the medal count and this medal just put us over, I’m not sure.

MoC: Thank you for still taking the time to talk to us. We appreciate it.

Akins: You’re just doing your job man. I just want you to know that I’m very serious about this.

Hurdles Clean Sweep

Nigeria in African 110m Hurdles CLEAN SWEEP as Akins, Al-Ameen & Ogierakhi win GOLD, Silver & Bronze!

13 Aug

Nigeria’s 110m hurdlers made a clean sweep of the medals in the event on Wednesday night, leaving their Algerian, South African and Malian rivals trailing in their wake on Day Four of competition at the African Senior Championships in Marrakech, Morocco.

National champion, Tyron Akins confirmed his status as the athlete to beat as he claimed his first African title in his debut outing at the championships, and only his second for Nigeria, with 13.57s. This follows his participation at the Commonwealth games where he just missed out on the Finals. He came to Marrakech as No.3 on the African list for 2014 but upstaged the rest of the field to clinch the title. The last time Nigeria won the 110m hurdles was in 1996 when national record holder in the event, William Erese mounted the podium in Yaounde, Cameroun!

Another new Nigerian athlete, Alex Al-Ameen, who was Nigeria’s No.2 from the National Trials, won silver in 13.78s. He came to the championship as the continent’s 2nd fastest athlete this year, behind Algeria’s Lyes Mokddel who competed in the heats but didn’t show up for the final. Al-Ameen competed in the Commonwealth Games and put up an impressive performance to get to the final of the event where he finished in seventh.

The only home-based athlete amongst them and Nigeria’s No.3, Martins Ogierakhi clocked 13.80s to secure the bronze medal. Ogierakhi holds the top position on the home front as he won all legs of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League and was one of the winners of the much anticipated N2million jackpot. He is also the winner of the last three editions for the National Sports Festival in Nigeria, which will be opened to foreign-based Nigerians for the very first time this year! He’ll have his hands full this time around with Akins and Al-Ameen in the mix!

Unfortunately, only Akins will fly Nigeria’s flag at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup, which incidentally holds in Marrakech, as only two athletes represent the continent in each event, and they cannot be from the same country!

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