Born 22 November 1975, Lagos; hails from Owan East in Edo State, mid-west Nigeria.
Married former athlete (Marathon, 400m) Muti Aina December 2003.
Lives and trains in Lagos (where he has built a house) and in Siena, Italy.
Manager: Enrico Dionizi
1.87m / 75kg. Second of seven children, four boys and three girls. Father a retired military officer (warrant officer); mother a housewife. Brother Musa Deji also an athlete, training in Sienna.
Aliu’s first step towards national prominence came in 1991 when he was spotted by Abel Akhigbe, coach of Lagos-based NITEL Athletics Club during a local high school competition in Lagos. Akhigbe saw Aliu’s school, Obele Community High School, run in prelims of the 4x100m relay and suggested reorganizing the relay legs, putting Aliu at anchor. The team won.
Aliu was recruited into NITEL A.C. and entered in local meetings, including the monthly AFN Classic Competitions, in which he was named best overall at 100m from 1992-1995. In 1995, he set the Classic record, 10.02, which has yet to be broken.
First international appearance for Nigeria at 1992 World Junior Championships in Seoul, where he ran second leg in the 4x100 (teammates: Tony Ogbeta, Uche Olisa and Paul Egonye), winning the bronze medal (39.88).
Two years later won both 100 (10.61) and 200 (21.34) at inaugural African Junior Championships in Algiers. Then defeated Francis Obikwelu (now competing for Portugal) to take 100m at the MKO Abiola U-20 competition in Benin City and qualified for 1994 World Juniors in Lisbon, where he won the 100 in 10.17 and took silver in the 200.
In 1995 moved up to senior ranks and reached quarter-finals of the 100m at Göteborg World Championships; had similar result the following year at the Atlanta Olympics, but got to the semifinals at 200m in the 1997 Athens World Championships.
Something of a breakthrough in 1999: 5th place finish and two African indoor 60m records (6.48) at Indoor World Championships in Maebashi. Reached only qf round in 100m at outdoor World Championships in Seville, but earned share of Nigeria’s 4x100 bronze. Then finished 4th in 100m at All-African Games in Johannesburg and won relay gold. A year later he improved on his Atlanta Olympic performance by reaching 100m semifinals in Sydney, and in 2002 he finished 4th in the 100m at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Dubbed the “nearly man” of Nigerian athletics by the local press for his inability to transfer his impressive showings on the European track circuit to the local stage, Aliu finally came of age in 2003, winning his first national title by outrunning Uchenna Emedolu over 100m at Nigeria’s National Championships. He repeated his victory over Emedolu at the 8th All African Games in Abuja, where he scorched to a 9.95 PB – his first major gold medal since his 1994 junior titles.
2003 also saw Aliu reach his first outdoor global final at the World Championships in Paris, where he finished 7th.
This year, Aliu has shown only a brief flash of his 2003 form, running 10.07 to win the Athens Super GP in early July. He was beaten in the 100m at the Nigerian Athens Olympic trials by unsung Tamunosiki Atoridibo (10.07 to 10.11) and has been hobbled since mid-July with a knee injury, but he expects to recover in time to be a full strength for Athens.