By Dare Esan:
Stephen Mozia at the weekend improved his Nigeria indoor shot put record to 21.03m at the Commodore Invitational meeting in Nashville, Tennesse in the United
States to become the first Nigerian to hit above the 20m mark.
The Cornell University, USA graduate added 24cm to the 20.79m record he first set on March 1, 2014 in Hanover, New Hampshire following his switch of allegiance from his country of birth, USA, to his country of origin, Nigeria.
The 23-year-old also set a new outdoor personal best of 20.46m which is also a Nigerian record on June 11, 2014 at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA, bettering the 20.26m record set by Chima Ugwu on 22 July, 2000 at the National stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
Mozia’s new indoor mark has also catapaulted him to the top of the world list.
He has also shot himself into contention as one of medal hopefuls at summer’s Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro Brazil.
In his first international appearance for Nigeria at the IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Ergo Arena in Sopot, Poland in 2014, Mozia failed to repeat his pre-championships form as he couldn’t make the final, putting a distance of 18.91m to place 17th in the qualifiers.
He placed seventh in the discus throw (57.31m) at the 2nd IAAF Continental Cup same year at the Le Grande Stade in Marrakech, Morocco.
Mozia will now be expected to challenge both the African outdoor (21.97m) and indoor (21.47m) records held by South Africa’s Janus Roberts.
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