Athlete Profile

Uchenna Emedolu

  • COUNTRY Nigeria Nigeria
  • DATE OF BIRTH 17 SEP 1976
Nigerian sprinter Uchenna Emedolu (Getty Images)
Nigerian sprinter Uchenna Emedolu (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Nigeria Nigeria
  • DATE OF BIRTH 17 SEP 1976


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Uchenna Emedolu (ehmehDOHloo), Nigeria (100m)

Born 17 September 1976, Adazi-Ani, Aniocha, Anambra State, South East  Nigeria.

Single; former football player

Attended Agulu Boys High School in Adazi-Ani

Unlike many of Nigeria’s top track and field stars, Uche Emedolu did not take part in any junior competitions, either in Nigeria or abroad. In fact, he was forced into athletics by circumstances beyond his control.

Emedolu’s first love was football—he was captain of his high school team—but like a lot of teenagers, he was a sporting jack of many trades—football, volleyball and some athletics. “I concentrated more on football where I was the school captain. I believed I was a better footballer than a track and field athlete,” he said.

But sport remained nothing but a pastime, even though Emedolu’s efforts were enthusiastically supported by his father. When his father’s died in 1993, however, his attitude toward sports changed.

“When my father died, everything became difficult for me,” says Emedolu. “It was then I thought of going into sports for what I can get from it in terms of material things. I was combining football with athletics until late 1997, when coach Tobias Igwe advised me to concentrate on athletics, insisting that is where I have a brighter future.”

Emedolu wasn’t convinced, however, and barely a year after receiving Igwe’s advice, he dropped track to concentrate entirely on football. He travelled to Malta for professional trials and stayed there 10 months, until he concluded that things were not working out and he came back home. Luckily, coach Igwe was still around to convince him his future lay in athletics.

“I decided to follow coach Igwe’s advice,” says Emedolu. “In anger, I sold my football boots so that I wouldn’t be seeing a sad reminder of a failed dream.”

It took Emodolu just a year in athletics to get the attention and fame he had craved in football. He participated in his first national championships in 2000 but failed to qualify for the Sydney Olympics. Providence smiled on him, however, when Nigerian athletics authorities gave him and a few others a final chance to contest for a place on the team at the training camp in Adelaide, Australia. Emedolu clocked 20.69 for 200m, inside the Olympic standard, and was named to the team. Unfortunately, he crashed out in the quarter-finals (20.93) after opening with a 20.87 run in his first-round heat.

Emedolu’s Olympic experience prepared him for 2001 when he went as far as the semi-finals of both the 100 (5th in 10.29) and the 200 (7th in 20.40) at the Edmonton World Championships.

It was in 2002, however, that he got full reward for his decision to switch to athletics.
He won a silver medal in the 100m (10.11) at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and ten days later collected another at the African Championships in Rades (10.00w). Then, in September he became the first African to win the 100m title at the IAAF World Cup, clocking a PB 10.06 in Madrid’s Estadio Communidad.

In 2003 he improved his World Championship placing, reaching the Paris 100m final and finishing 8th in 10.22. He then won bronze at 100m at the IAAF World Athletics final in Monaco (10.08) and capped his season with a pair of medals—gold (200m in 20.42) and silver (100m in PB 9.97 behind teammate Deji Aliu)—at the 8th All Africa Games in Abuja.

This season, Emedolu began strongly with a 10.05 / 20.39 double in Rethimno, Greece, in June, but was slowed by injury shortly thereafter. Following four weeks on the sidelnes, he returned to the track in late July with a 10.26 and resumed preparations for Athens.

Prepared by Dare Esan for the IAAF "Focus on Africans" project. Copyright IAAF 2004.

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
100 Metres 9.97 +0.6 Abuja 12 OCT 2003
200 Metres 20.31 +0.4 Rieti 08 SEP 2002
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
60 Metres 6.66 Stuttgart 03 FEB 2002
200 Metres 20.84 Stuttgart 03 FEB 2002
200 Metres 20.84 Liévin 24 FEB 2002
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
100 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2008 10.21 +1.2 Addis Ababa 01 MAY
2007 10.23 0.0 Abuja 05 MAY
2006 10.14 +1.1 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 16 SEP
2006 10.14 Abuja 11 FEB
2005 10.13 Abuja 09 JUL
2004 10.05 +0.1 Réthimno 23 JUN
2003 9.97 +0.6 Abuja 12 OCT
2002 10.06 -0.3 Madrid (CM) 20 SEP
2001 10.11 +0.6 Berlin 31 AUG
200 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2008 21.06 -0.8 Brazzaville 01 JUN
2007 20.66 +0.2 Doha 11 MAY
2006 20.51 Abuja 11 FEB
2005 20.55 +0.2 Thessaloníki 17 JUL
2004 20.39 +0.9 Réthimno 23 JUN
2003 20.38 +0.6 Abuja 14 OCT
2002 20.31 +0.4 Rieti 08 SEP
2001 20.34 +0.8 Rieti 02 SEP
2000 20.69 +0.6 Adelaide 13 AUG
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
60 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2007 6.68 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 10 FEB
2005 6.67 Madrid 24 FEB
2004 6.67 Peanía 22 FEB
2003 6.70 Peanía 06 MAR
2002 6.66 Stuttgart 03 FEB
200 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Wind Place Date
2005 21.13 Peanía 20 FEB
2004 21.38 Peanía 22 FEB
2002 20.84 Liévin 24 FEB
2002 20.84 Stuttgart 03 FEB
Honours - 100 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXIX Olympic Games 4h8 10.46 -0.1 Beijing (National Stadium) 15 AUG 2008
10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 4 10.14 +1.1 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 16 SEP 2006
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6sf2 10.16 -1.0 Helsinki 07 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 8sf1 10.35 -1.6 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 22 AUG 2004
1st IAAF World Athletics Final 3 10.08 +1.9 Monaco (Stade Louis II) 13 SEP 2003
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 10.22 0.0 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 25 AUG 2003
9th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 1 10.06 -0.3 Madrid (CM) 20 SEP 2002
8th IAAF World Championships 4sf2 10.29 -1.7 Edmonton 05 AUG 2001
Honours - 200 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics qf2 DNF -1.1 Helsinki 10 AUG 2005
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8 20.62 +0.1 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 29 AUG 2003
9th IAAF World Indoor Championships h6 DNS Birmingham (NIA), GBR 14 MAR 2003
8th IAAF World Championships 7sf2 20.40 +0.7 Edmonton 08 AUG 2001
27th Olympic Games 8qf2 20.93 0.0 Sydney 27 SEP 2000


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Uchenna Emedolu (ehmehDOHloo), Nigeria (100m)

Born 17 September 1976, Adazi-Ani, Aniocha, Anambra State, South East  Nigeria.

Single; former football player

Attended Agulu Boys High School in Adazi-Ani

Unlike many of Nigeria’s top track and field stars, Uche Emedolu did not take part in any junior competitions, either in Nigeria or abroad. In fact, he was forced into athletics by circumstances beyond his control.

Emedolu’s first love was football—he was captain of his high school team—but like a lot of teenagers, he was a sporting jack of many trades—football, volleyball and some athletics. “I concentrated more on football where I was the school captain. I believed I was a better footballer than a track and field athlete,” he said.

But sport remained nothing but a pastime, even though Emedolu’s efforts were enthusiastically supported by his father. When his father’s died in 1993, however, his attitude toward sports changed.

“When my father died, everything became difficult for me,” says Emedolu. “It was then I thought of going into sports for what I can get from it in terms of material things. I was combining football with athletics until late 1997, when coach Tobias Igwe advised me to concentrate on athletics, insisting that is where I have a brighter future.”

Emedolu wasn’t convinced, however, and barely a year after receiving Igwe’s advice, he dropped track to concentrate entirely on football. He travelled to Malta for professional trials and stayed there 10 months, until he concluded that things were not working out and he came back home. Luckily, coach Igwe was still around to convince him his future lay in athletics.

“I decided to follow coach Igwe’s advice,” says Emedolu. “In anger, I sold my football boots so that I wouldn’t be seeing a sad reminder of a failed dream.”

It took Emodolu just a year in athletics to get the attention and fame he had craved in football. He participated in his first national championships in 2000 but failed to qualify for the Sydney Olympics. Providence smiled on him, however, when Nigerian athletics authorities gave him and a few others a final chance to contest for a place on the team at the training camp in Adelaide, Australia. Emedolu clocked 20.69 for 200m, inside the Olympic standard, and was named to the team. Unfortunately, he crashed out in the quarter-finals (20.93) after opening with a 20.87 run in his first-round heat.

Emedolu’s Olympic experience prepared him for 2001 when he went as far as the semi-finals of both the 100 (5th in 10.29) and the 200 (7th in 20.40) at the Edmonton World Championships.

It was in 2002, however, that he got full reward for his decision to switch to athletics.
He won a silver medal in the 100m (10.11) at the Manchester Commonwealth Games and ten days later collected another at the African Championships in Rades (10.00w). Then, in September he became the first African to win the 100m title at the IAAF World Cup, clocking a PB 10.06 in Madrid’s Estadio Communidad.

In 2003 he improved his World Championship placing, reaching the Paris 100m final and finishing 8th in 10.22. He then won bronze at 100m at the IAAF World Athletics final in Monaco (10.08) and capped his season with a pair of medals—gold (200m in 20.42) and silver (100m in PB 9.97 behind teammate Deji Aliu)—at the 8th All Africa Games in Abuja.

This season, Emedolu began strongly with a 10.05 / 20.39 double in Rethimno, Greece, in June, but was slowed by injury shortly thereafter. Following four weeks on the sidelnes, he returned to the track in late July with a 10.26 and resumed preparations for Athens.

Prepared by Dare Esan for the IAAF "Focus on Africans" project. Copyright IAAF 2004.