When it comes to athletics, Dominic Ogbechie is the dictionary definition of a triple threat. Long jump, high jump and 200m – the 16-year-old possesses prodigious talent in each, demonstrated when becoming the first person to win those three different events in the English Schools Championships.
As a successful multi-discipline athlete, the Londoner’s list of achievements is as long as some of his jumps: this year alone he took high jump gold for GB at the European Athletics Under-18s Championships and broke the Under-16s world indoor record in the same event at the England Age Group Indoor Athletics Championships.
Now Dominic is set to join illustrious company as one of the final three nominees for the annual One-to-Watch Award, selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 sports.
SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award was launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist and diving world champion Tom Daley the inaugural winner.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic champion Natasha Baker are among the panel of judges.
And despite his seemingly endless string of successes, Dominic was delighted to have been officially recognised by an award for the first time.
“It’s an honour,” he said. “This is one of the first external sports awards that I’ve been invited to, so it takes a special place.
“It would mean an awful lot to win it because this is the first time I’ve been outright recognised for my talents.
“I don’t really have a favourite, I prefer each event for different reasons but don’t have an outright favourite.
“High jump and long jump, you can get the crowd involved and it gets atmospheric. For sprints it just gets attention – I like performing in front of a crowd.
“I feel like at some point I might specialise, but until then I’m not really thinking about it.”
“Obviously the Olympics is the aim; 2020 might be a bit too close but definitely the one after that.
“Next year my main aim would be the European Under-20s Championships. I go up an age category, so the main thing is gaining the experience of competing with seniors.”
If his rate of progression continues apace, you would be a fool to bet against seeing Dominic rouse the crowd when the Olympics heads to Los Angeles in 2024.
And, along with his preternatural talents and work ethic, the youngster cites the support of SportsAid – who offer funding and recognition to young athletes like Dominic at a crucial stage in their careers – as having been of immeasurable importance so far.
“They’ve given me massive support, I’m grateful for everything they’ve done,” Dominic, who receives his SportsAid support from GLL Sport Foundation, said.
“They really have helped me an awful lot financially: getting up to training, making sure that I can get back safely, pay for training.
“They’ve been a massive help and I’d have to say that without them a lot of the progress that I’ve had wouldn’t have been the case.”
The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s annual SportsBall, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Thursday 15 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.
PHOTO CREDIT - MARK SHEARMAN