Roomies Dominate World Youth 100m

Room mates Onyepunuka and Lacy win sprint double for USA
Friday 11 July 2003
17-year old Jessica Onyepunuka set a new championships record of 11.31 to win the women’s 100m final here in Sherbrooke ahead of compatriot and room-mate Krystin Lacy who crossed the line in 11.50.

Aided by a 1.8-metre tail wind, Onyepunuka was fast out of the blocks and powered through to the finish to upset Lacy who had herself set a championships record of 10.43 in yesterday’s first round.

“Krystin had a slightly better start than me I think but that’s because she’s taller,” joked a jubilant Onyepunuka after her final.

“The fact that Krystin finished second makes this medal even sweeter. She was a great competitor at these championships and I am proud for both her and myself.”

Onyepunuka had a moment of panic when the handful of journalists surrounding her mentioned the windy conditions. She was soon relieved when she learned that her time was achieved in legal conditions. And indeed it was as the wind gauge was reading +1.8.

“I didn’t feel the wind during the race but I can see it now with all the flags flying. But no it didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t feel anything and I couldn’t tell you whether there was tail or head wind.”

Onyepunuka seemed to be more preoccupied by the cold temperatures than the blowing winds as she was wrapping herself into an American flag.

“This is a day for ducks,” she innocently proclaimed. “Today was way too cold for me. Don’t forget that I am an Arizona girl and I am used to the heat. I prefer it when it’s 40 degrees and you sweat all the time. I wouldn’t have minded that but unfortunately I have no influence on the weather yet,” she laughed.

A few tears shed from Onyepunuka’s big black eyes but were soon gone when she started crediting the US staff for her success here in Sherbrooke.

“There are so many fantastic sprinters in the USA that are performing great. Look at Allyson Felix for example, she won this championship two years ago and she has already stepped up a level.

“Myself I just feel blessed to be where I am, to have a great coaching staff in the US and parents that support me all the way through. I am now just going to take it one step at a time and take everything which comes my way.”

Onyepunuka was born in Peoria, Arizona 17, years ago but both her parents are Nigerians and both were confirmed sprinters.

“My mom and dad were 100m sprinters and represented Nigeria. I couldn’t tell you what their best performance or success what. The only thing I know is that my father can still beat me. So I need to continue training hard until I can finally run faster than him.”

Not only is Sebastian Onyepunuka the proud father of Jessica but also one of his main coaches. Hard work and dedication are citied by Jessica as her main qualities.

Having achieved one of her dreams, as she likes to call this gold medal, Onyepunuka still has one big objective in life.

“I want to travel to Nigeria. I have never been there yet and it is one of the main things that I want to do in the near future. I mean that is where my parents were born, I have Nigerian blood in my veins and I will certainly never forget that.”

Before returning to Sherbrooke University stadium track to run the opening leg of the USA’s medley relay, Onyepunuka still has one urgent thing to do.

“I am desperate to call my mom!”