HAMPTON (WAVY & Hampton Athletics) – It’s rare an athlete has the choice to compete for three different countries when it comes to the Olympics. Chidi Okezie is a rarity. His father is Nigerian, his mother Jamaican but Okezie was born and raised in Philadelphia and made a U.S. junior team in 2012. He had his choice to compete for the country of his choosing when it came to the most recent Olympic trials.
“Something just came over me after I made the U.S. junior team. I was like ‘Nigeria needs help.’ in a lot of different ways and I feel like I can be the person to bridge the gap between the Nigerian athletes in Nigeria and the Nigerian athletes in America,” Okezie said. “If I could be the branch to bring everyone together, I feel like Nigeria could do great things.”
Okezie anchored the Nigerian Mixed 4×400 relay team to an Olympic qualifying and Nigerian National Record time of 3:14.09 Sunday June 27th at the Yabatech Sports Complex in Lagos.
The time ranks them 16th in the world and gives them a spot in the inaugural running of the Mixed 4×400 at the Tokyo Olympics. Opening round of the Mixed 4×400 relay will be on July 30 and the finals will take place the next day.
This marks the eighth Olympian for Hampton University Track and Field under head coach Maurice Pierce. The Pirates have had at least one representative in four of the last five Summer Olympic games.
“I am excited for Chidi to be able to represent the Nigerian National Team at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Pierce. “He is a product of the HU track & field program and a prime example of how we continue to produce World Class athletes. Chidi will represent HU well just as all of my other former Olympians did in the past.”