Texas Tech finds a new gem in High Jumper Temitope Adeshina, but she has had to scale heights more difficult than her recent exploits.
If you are not new to Track and Field, you must have seen the viral video of Texas Tech assistant coach Keith Herston alongside some of his athletes mobbing Nigeria’s Temitope Adeshina after she scaled 1.96m at the Cocky Classic in Texas. It was only her second meet since she moved to the US to start her collegiate career.
It was unbridled joy on the faces of everyone who witnessed this moment from Adeshina. A few might have been surprised about the moment, but for those who knew Adeshina back home, all she needed or even asked for was to be given the opportunity at a stage like this.
At this stage, Adeshina had practiced mentally how she was going to scale this height. The 25-year-old freshman cleared 1.96m to break the school record of two-time NCAA champion Zarriea Willis and tying the facility record set four years ago by 13-time U.S. champion Vashti Cunningham.
It was a surreal moment for Adeshina, who only six months ago had people question her 1.94m jump at the Lagos series meet, which took place at the Yaba Sports Complex. Regardless, her jump was enough to see her Doreen Amata’s Indoor High Jump record of 1.93m.
In 2016, at the age of 17, Temitope embarked on her high jump journey in the Badagry area of Lagos State. However, her path faced a significant disruption when her parents separated, leading to financial challenges. With her father withdrawing support and prohibiting her from participating in sports, Temitope took a hiatus of over a year. This absence was a crucial factor in her being unable to participate in the 2017 Commonwealth Games Camping (CWG) in preparation for the Gold Coast Games in Australia in 2018, causing her to miss the Games entirely.
Subsequently, she was sent to her aunt to learn tailoring, diverting from her athletic pursuits. Coach Kola Adebayo, who had been guiding her training on the side, intervened and requested her release from her father. The approval came just as the CWG camping resumed in late 2017 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Following the camp, Temitope moved in with her coach’s family in the Ikorodu area of Lagos and later with her father in Ajegunle to alleviate transportation costs.
With consistent training, Temitope’s fortunes turned around, culminating in a 1.70m personal best and a commendable third-place finish at the National Sports Festival in Abuja at…