You do not have to go far to find the fastest high school student in Saskatchewan, but you might have trouble keeping up. In the under-18 category, Sacred Heart High School student Dami Ogunbiyi recently took home gold at provincials in the 100m in Prince Albert, and silver in the 200m in the same event.
His time in the 100m finals was 11.16 seconds, and in the 200m final was 23.16 seconds in Prince Albert.
Ogunbiyi has been working towards the goal since last summer.
“It’s something that I knew I wanted to accomplish and to finally get it done is something that is really important to me. To be able to represent my school too is something that is really important to me.”
Running since Grade 9, this was Ogunbiyi’s first year in the senior category.
“Running against the older guys was a good competition for me.”
Even as one of the younger racers, Ogunbiyi was confident that he would do well.
“My 100m is very, very dangerous, I’ve been working on it a lot since summer, so I was expecting to come out with a good result in the 100m. In 200m, I knew that if I trained as hard and I focused, I would come out with a good result as well.”
Ogunbiyi believes he’s better equipped for the 100m, because it’s focused around power and technique.
“But I try to get adjusted to the 200m because it’s a race that I enjoy doing.”
Preparing for the event requires specific meal preparation and training. Ogunbiyi also credits coaches, family and friends for encouraging him to keep going and keep working towards the result in what is a very long season.
That preparation has paid off, as Ogunbiyi has ascended from being ranked somewhere in the 40s to being at the top of the nation. Part of this is due to Ogunbiyi now focusing on running, while he used to be focused on soccer.
“I used to think ‘ugh, this is not for me.’ It was with encouragement that I kept pressing on and I knew that there was something different about this sport and it was something I could do.”
Ogunbiyi is now preparing for the biggest competition of his young career, the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, which runs from October 6-18. He’s preparing for more intense coaching, longer days and more hard work to get his body ready for the games.
“It would be my first experience representing Canada, so hopefully all things follow the plan.”
Naturally, Ogunbiyi has plenty of schools interested in him when he graduates from Sacred Heart next year, and he admits that it’s humbling to have so many schools interested in him.
“It’s time to sit back and look at what’s happening and see what’s best for me in the future.”
Before reaching that point, he’s proud to be part of Sacred Heart.
“It’s great to have so many people behind me, especially in a school like Sacred Heart where everyone is really, really close knit. It really keeps me going."
Edited to remove mentions of national ranking.