Six Former Miners Headed to 2012 London Olympics
Swimmer Lara Jackson was El Paso’s best shot for a native to represent our community in the Olympics. However, six athletes who ‘adopted’ our lovely city during college will represent UTEP in London.
Five former stars for the track & field program, Endurance Abinuwa (Nigeria), Mickael Hanany (France), Churandy Martina (Netherlands), Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) and Oludamola Osayomi (Nigeria), and former soccer standout Kelly Parker (Canada) will vie for Olympic glory.
Abinuwa, who was a senior on the 2011-12 UTEP track & field team, was a part of the 4x400m relay which posted a winning time of 3:28.77 at the 18th African Senior Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic. The squad’s best time in the event was 3:29.59 at the World Championships. Abinuwa’s relay unit is currently ranked ninth heading into the Olympics
Hanany qualified for Olympics in the high jump with a personal-best effort of 2.31m, which occurred at the 2012 UTEP Springtime meet. Hanany competed at the 21st European Athletics Championships and took bronze with a mark of 2.28m.
Martina will be competing in the men’s 200m after placing first with a time of 20.42 at the European Athletics Championships. His personal-best in the event remains 19.94, which he set at the Diamond League competition in New York, N.Y. Martina led the men’s 4x100m relay team to a gold finish with a personal-best time of 38.34 at the European Championships.
Okagbare, who secured a bronze medal in the long jump in the 2008 Olympics, set a personal-best with an effort of 6.96m to win gold at the African Championships. She also will compete in the 100m after grabbing a silver medal at the event with a time of 11.18.
Osayomi, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, helped Nigeria team capture gold in the 4×100 relay at the 18th African Senior Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic. The Nigerian team, which posted a personal-best at the World Championships (42.74), heads into the Olympics ranked sixth.
Parker helped Canada turn in a solid effort in the CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying tournament, and it will be one of 12 teams to vie for a medal. Parker played for Canada in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, an experience which should help her this summer.
[Mark Brunner UTEP Athletics]