NCAA 200m champion Udodi Onwuzurike has signed a professional contract with Adidas.
Onwuzurike had on Tuesday, announced his decision to turn pro, forgoing the last two years of his collegiate contract with Stanford University Track & Field.
In a statement he personally released, the 20-year-old said his lifelong dream had come true.
“After much prayer and discussion, I will be forgoing the remaining two years of my collegiate eligibility and will be turning professional.
My lifelong dream has come true, bringing both excitement and reflection with this fresh opportunity. Thank you, Stanford for everything. This is not a goodbye, but a new beginning,” he said.
The American-born athlete, who became eligible to represent Nigeria through his parents, becomes the fourth Nigerian under Adidas, following the footsteps of women’s 100m hurdles World Record holder Tobi Amusan and 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist Ese Brume.
Fellow collegiate, Favour Ofili also recently turned pro, signing for Adidas.
Onwuzurike first burst into the scene at the 2021 World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, winning the men’s 200m title – the first Nigerian since Francis Obikwelu in 1996.
He went on to win bronze medal for Nigeria as part of the men’s 4x100m relay team at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
In the just concluded NCAA season, Onwuzurike won the national title in the men’s 200m at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas with a time of 19.84.
At the 2024 Paris Olympics, the young athlete who has a personal best time of 9.92s and 19.76s in the 100m and 200m respectively will be hoping to become the first Nigerian man to land on the world podium since Obikwelu won bronze medal at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Sevilla.
He will be looking forward to competing with the world’s best sprinters, such as Noah Lyles, Andre De Grasse, Letsile Tebogo – who he defeated to win the World U-20 title – and Erriyon Knighton.
Meanwhile, Onwuzurike also signed with sports management company Astra Partners.
The company announced that the athlete had joined them via a post on their Instagram page.
The company wrote, “100m & 200m superstar @udodii has signed for @adidas & Astra!
“Welcome to the team, we cannot wait to see how this superstar gets on this season.
“The family grow.”
Among the athletes under Astra are Knighton, three-time men’s 110m hurdles World Champions, Grant Holloway, Great Britain’s Darryl Neita among others.