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London trackster making impact for Iowa men's track

BY TOMMY REINKING | FEBRUARY 05, 2013 5:00 AM

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Babatunde Amosu has had a longer journey than most leading up to his first meet as a jumper on the Iowa men’s track team.

The sophomore was born in Nigeria, went to high school in London, spent his freshman year at Texas A&M, and is now the newest record-holding triple-jumper for the Hawkeyes.

“At practice, he looks amazing,” Raven Moore, a captain on the Iowa track team, said. “’You can tell how focused he is among his peers. He just looks like someone who’s going to be a great addition to our team.”

While competing at Texas A&M, Amosu finished runner-up in the triple jump in the Big 12 indoor championships with a distance of 50-2.5 feet in 2012.

Amosu competed in his first event for the Black and Gold at the Meyo Invitational hosted by Notre Dame on Feb. 2. He finished in fifth place with a leap of 49-2.5 feet. That gives him the fourth best leap in Iowa’s history.

Amosu’s NCAA career began when he researched as much as he could about life in America and college track teams across the country. He contacted the Texas A&M track coaches and eventually elected to go there. Amosu has teammates from London who compete for universities such as Princeton, and Missouri — Amosu said his peers told him what to expect.

Even though his time at Texas A&M was short-lived, Amosu said the experiences from his freshman year are something he won’t forget.

“It was great,” he said. “It wasn’t something that I regret. With everything, you take something out of it. I really loved it. From the coaches, the athletes, the weather always being nice and warm; the life out there was amazing, especially for my first time in the United States.”

After Amosu left Texas A&M, his coach from London contacted the Iowa coaches to let them know he was available to compete. Amosu then researched about Iowa track and field on the Internet and talked to the coaches about the possibility of transferring. Eventually the two sides came to an agreement.

Amosu said life in the United States hasn’t been very different from that in London. He said the only things he’s had to adjust to were the currency and how wide the roads are in America. The only downside he could point out was the necessity of having a car.

Amosu is also taking to life in Iowa in stride. Although the weather may be much colder than it is in Texas, he said the frigid temperatures and snow reminds him of London.

“Iowa City is kind of a small community, but I like that,” he said. “It’s just nice and calm. The university environment lets me focus on what I need to do. I really love it.”

Amosu has another community in the form of the track team that assistant coach Clive Roberts said will really help him develop into a quality addition to the track program.

“First and foremost, just having good people around is always going to help,” the fifth-year coach said. “He’s very talented, but talent alone doesn’t necessarily describe a person. He’s a good kid. He’s always got a smile on his face.”

From London to Texas to Iowa, the path for Amosu hasn’t been a stable one, but the trackster feels that Iowa might finally be the place for him.

“It’s not what I expected,” Amosu said. “It’s better than what I expected.”


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