•Carpet Nigerian athletics
By Ben Efe
Davidson and Osmond Ezinwa played a prominent part in the glamorous past of Nigerian athletics. Those were the days Nigeria totally dominated the sprints events in Africa and then of course ruffled some feathers at the world stage.
The identical twins that bestrode the Nigerian athletics scene and made remarkable achievements, on Friday held a wake keep in Los Angeles California for their late mother, Ezine Sophia Ucheabuchi Ezinwa who they claimed, was the pillar of their success in sports and academics. She died at 82 in February 2017.
Davidson, the eldest of the twins at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 1990 Plovdiv, Bulgeria burst into the limelight when he won the men’s 100m, setting a world record of 10.05 seconds, which was erased in 2003, but still remains a junior record in Africa.
As a senior athlete, he participated in his first Olympics at Seoul 88 and then in Barcelona 1992, he alongside Olapade Adeniken, Kayode Oluyemi, Chidi Imoh won a silver in the 4x100m relay, Osmond who ran during the heats also got the medal.
At the World Championships in 1997 the Ezinwa brothers, Olapade Adeniken and Francis Obikwelu won silver in the 4x100m. Davidson ran the final leg of the race, and was out paced by Canada’s Donovan Bailey in the epic final to clinch the gold.
“Our mother was the pillar of our success,” Osmond submitted. “As a mom she laid a solid foundation for us. She was tough on discipline, especially as she has to raise four boys. At first she did not support our sports pursuits, even though she was an athlete during her time.
“In 1987 we were invited to camp; she wouldn’t allow us to go. But we cried out to our dad, who eventually talked her out of her insistence for us not to practice sports. Moreover, after the Seoul 1988 Olympics, there was an avalanche of scholarship offers for Nigerian athletes to study in the USA.
“Our mom ensured that we made the right choices and she monitored our academic progress, while we were in school. She was happy that we could combine education with sports. Even as we were making waves, she insisted that we remain on course and not carried away by fame.
“We are really going to miss her. We are indeed pained by her demise. When our dad died, we did not feel it like we are now, she was a great motivator,” Osmond stated.
Speaking on the state of Nigerian athletics, the younger Ezinwa noted that it was regrettable that things have taken a turn for worse. He stated that the country has jettisoned the system that produced athletes like him in the past. “Today everyone is only concerned about how to make money. There is no thought about the overall development of the youths.”