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Know Your Track Star: Ifeanyi Otuonye

The former Kansas State long jumper will be competing for a medal at the Commonwealth Games tomorrow

Athletics - Commonwealth Games Day 6 Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Early tomorrow morning—so early most of us will only read about it later—Ifeanyi Otuonye will try to jump a long way and straight on to the podium and into the history books.

The long jump specialist from Turks and Caicos is actually an old pro at international competition. This is his second turn at the Commonwealth Games already. He participated in the 2014 edition in Glasgow where he leaped 7.47m, a new Turks and Caicos national record that was neverthless not quite good enough for the finals back then.

He’s since participated in the World Championships in 2015 and 2017, and along the way, he won the long jump gold medal at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in 2016, breaking his own TCI national record with a jump of 7.88m.

Otuonye’s road to stardom went through Manhattan, Kansas, but wasn’t all that straightforward. He was initially recruited to Kansas State to run relays (the anchor leg of the 4x100 and the opening leg of the 4x400) but who could also get the team points in the long jump. When he arrived in Manhattan, he’d never jumped more than 23 feet, but he had almost immediate impact, and as a freshman, finished second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in 2013.

In addition to making progress in track and field at Kansas State, Otuonye is also a serious student, graduating with a degree in computer science in 2016 and then pursuing an MBA. (Ed: many thanks to former Kansas State great Sara Savatovic for the fabulous blog she runs!)

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games yesterday, Otuonye qualified for the final on his first attempt with a monster leap of 8.03m. He’ll compete in the finals at 5:30 AM (CDT) on April 11.

Otuonye’s full first name is Ifeanyichukwu which means “nothing is impossible under God.” If his first jump at this year’s CWGs is anything to go by, Otuonye is about to live up to his name.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games, also called the XXI Commonwealth Games, are currently in progress at the Gold Coast in Australia. The Games conclude on April 15, 2018.