• ‘Agbebaku’s triple jump record has stayed for too long’
Three-time Olympian, Yusuf Alli, does not see any Nigerian athlete breaking his 33-year-old long jump record soon. Alli, who is the chairman of Edo Sports Commission, was the ‘commander-in-chief’ in African athletics in his active days, particularly in long jump, in which he continually broke barriers.
He was recently named the coordinator of Team Nigeria to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Apart from being a three-time Olympian, Alli is best remembered for his gold medal at Auckland ‘90 Commonwealth Games.
Till date, Alli’s Personal Best of 8.27 metres, which he set in 1989 during the African Athletics Championships in Lagos, still stands as Nigeria’s record in the event.
But the longest national record still standing on the archives of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is the triple jump 17.26 meters set by Ajayi Agbebaku in Edmonton, Canada, in 1983.
Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, Alli said he does not see any Nigerian athlete erasing his record soon, adding, “it is a big challenge for them, but sincerely speaking, I don’t see any one breaking my record now.”
Apart from dominating the long jump in Africa, Alli also holds school records for the long jump – both indoor and outdoor (set in 1984 and 1983) respectively for the University of Missouri in the United States.
Alli, who was African captain and longest Nigeria captain, said it would take great determination from a Nigerian athlete to break his long jump record.
“For now, it is one of the only two national records still standing in Nigerian athletics,” Alli said. “In this era of athletes breaking existing national records, I am looking forward to seeing these two records set by Agbebaku and myself broken. But as I pointed out earlier, I don’t see that happening very soon,” Alli said.
The Guardian recalls that in the build up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, Ese Brume broke Chioma Ajunwa’s Atlanta ’96 Olympics record of 7.12 metres with a jump of 7.17 metres during a competition in the U.S. And barely one month after U.S.-based Nigerian sprinter, Favour Ofili, broke Blessing Okagbare’s 200 metres National Record, another Nigerian, Nathaniel Ezekiel, broke Henry Amike’s 35-year-old 400 metres Hurdles National Record to win the Big 12 title in Texas last weekend. He stormed to a massive Personal Best (PB) of 48.42 seconds to break Amike’s National Record (NR) that was set in 1987.