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Mobolade Ajomale Qualifies for Rio 2016

The Urban Knight accomplishes a personal best at the Canadian Track & Field Championships and Rio Selection Trials

Mobolade Ajomale First Olympian (by Rachael Smith)

Mobolade Ajomale is Academy of Art University’s first-ever Olympian. Photo by Rachael Smith.

The “Road to Rio” begins here.

Breaking further ground in a historic freshman season, Mobolade Ajomale became Academy of Art University’s first Olympian with an incredible personal best in the 100m dash at the Canadian Track & Field Championships and Rio Selection Trials on July 9.

“It was unbelievable,” said Ajomale. “To go out there and run a lifetime best and Olympic standard was so satisfying after such a long eason. And now being on the team is the icing on top of everything I accomplished this year.”

At Foote Field in Edmonton, a four-hour flight from Ajomale’s hometown of Richmond Hill, the PacWest Freshman of the Year and five-time All-American toed the line for the third of three 100m prelim heats. Knowing he would have to top his previous record (10.25) in order to make the final and achieve the Olympic standard of 10.16 along the way, Ajomale was up for the challenge as he stepped in just two lanes over from Canadian great Andre De Grasse (NCAA 100m, 200m champion and current Canadian record holder in the 200m).

Mobolade Ajomale in Canadian Championships 100m (photo via RunnerSpace.com)

Mobolade Ajomale in the Canadian Championships 100m race. Photo courtesy of RunnerSpace.com.

Amid cold conditions, Ajomale would burn up the track for his fastest time to date, going 10.15 to not only take second (ensuring a spot in the final), but also to hit the Olympic standard as well. Just a short two hours later, Ajomale was one of eight men returned for the 100m final. There, De Grasse would shift into another gear, going 9.99 for the win, but Ajomale was not far behind in fourth with a time of 10.23. Automatic qualifiers to the Rio Olympics were the top two though an opportunity remained for the top four to make up Team Canada’s 4x100m relay.

“All of the hard work he has put in throughout the year continues to show in his performances,” said track & field head coach Kevin LaSure. “He deserves all of the amazing things coming to him because he has truly earned them through tremendous work ethic.”

Though scheduled to compete in the 200m on July 10, Ajomale was a scratch and would await word on his opportunity to join the Rio-bound 4x100m relay team.

Mobolade Ajomale Team Canada (photo via Mobolade Ajomale)

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Athletics Canada nominated Mobolade Ajomale to represent Team Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo courtesy of Mobolade Ajomale.

On July 11, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Athletics Canada officially named Ajomale one of 65 athletes nominated to represent Team Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5 to 21.

“This is an incredible honor,” said director of track & field/cross country Torrey Olson. “We are very proud of Bolade and all of the work he has put in to earn this opportunity. I am very excited for him to be able to have this experience.”