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Christ the King athlete has a jump on the competition

Chairo Ogbebor has sights set on third straight OFSAA gold medal, provincial record
Christ the King's Chairo Ogbebor not only has his sights set on a third OFSAA long jump medal, but also the provincial high school record.

Chairo Ogbebor walks into the gymnasium at Christ the King and is immediately greeted with, "There he is. The greatest high school track and field athlete in Ontario."

Ogbebor smiles in an ‘aw, shucks’ kind of way, but his schoolmate’s proclamation may not be too far from the truth. At last week’s South Regional Track and Field Meet, the 18-year-old recorded a personal best of 10.57 seconds to win the event’s premier event, the 100-metre dash. 

And that’s not even his best event.

That would be the long jump, where he soared past the competition with a jump of 7.17 metres to win by almost half a metre. His performance earned him the award as the meet’s outstanding male athlete.

Ogbebor now heads into the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships, which begin today (Thursday) in London, looking to claim a third straight long jump gold.

“The speed and the power he’s able to generate - he's a pretty special talent,” said Christ the King coach Matt Wannamaker.

Ogbebor is the only high school athlete in the province to break the seven-metre mark this year. He jumped 7.37m at the Golden Horseshoe championships, breaking a 16-year-old record by a whopping 61 cm. And he established a personal best of 7.49m at a meet in Boston while competing for his club, the Flying Angels, in March.

Now Ogbebor has a clear goal in mind for OFSAA.

“7.73 metres. I want to try to break the record,” he says. “Shoot for the stars, and even if I don’t get it, I’m more likely to have a big jump.”

Ogbebor has been shooting for the stars since he watched Andre DeGrasse race against Usain Bolt in the 2016 Olympics.

“I saw that and I thought, ‘I want to be there,’” he said. 

And though he may have envisioned himself there as a sprinter, eventually he couldn’t deny his success as a long jumper. He still considered himself more of a sprinter even into his high school years. But even without any formal training in long jump, he was turning in impressive results.

“I’d have these big jumps and I’d see people’s reactions,” he said. “So I started thinking, ‘Maybe this is something I’m good at.'”

That’s not to say Ogbebor has abandoned the sprints, and his potential is still being recognized. Last summer he was named to the Canadian team for the Youth Commonwealth Games, where he competed in the 200m.

“It was so surreal to make my first national team,” he said. “To represent Canada has been a dream.”

Ogbebor enters OFSAA with the third best time in the 100m. And he goes into the race with a little extra incentive. As was the case at South Regionals, his main rivals are his Flying Angels teammates.

“It’s a very friendly rivalry. It never dips into bitterness,” he said. “But you never want to lose because you know you’re going to hear about it every day at practice.”

That’s not something Ogbebor should have to worry about in the long jump. 

“He has goals and when sets goals for himself, I don’t think anyone can stop him,” Wannamaker said.

Three other Christ the King athletes qualified for OFSAA: Sierra Roy in the senior girls’ javelin,  Madisyn Clipperton in the junior girls’ javelin and Sefra Cormier in the novice girls’ high jump. Georgetown District’s Killian Lavoie will compete in the intellectually impaired boys’ shot put.

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Herb Garbutt

About the Author: Herb Garbutt

Herb Garbutt has lived in Halton HIlls for 30 years. During that time he has worked in Halton Region covering local news and sports, including 15+ years in Halton Hills
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