Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker races to success in jam-packed season

Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker of Team England celebrates winning the Gold medal in  the Men's T45-47 100m Final on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 02, 2022 in the Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker of Team England celebrates winning the Gold medal in the Men's T45-47 100m Final on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 02, 2022 in the Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

By Tom Harle

Sprint sensation Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker raced so much in 2022 that his phone broke.

The Grays star was the toast of Team England when crowned Commonwealth champion but the road to Birmingham was long and winding.

Oyinbo-Coker took to the track no fewer than 45 times this season - filming each one to reflect and review - burning through his phone storage with the sheer volume of clips.

“My camera roll is literally just videos of me racing,” joked the 20-year-old.

“I started really badly in 2021 and that was a wake-up call for me. I realised I had to focus on a lot of things and the only way I can do that is by racing.

“Racing allows me to understand what I need to improve every time. As time goes by, the jigsaw comes together and competing helps me develop.”

Oyinbo-Coker narrowly missed out on a Paralympic debut in Tokyo, failing to register the necessary qualifying time.

Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker of Team England celebrates winning the Gold medal in  the Men's T45-47 100m Final on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 02, 2022 in the Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker of Team England celebrates winning the Gold medal in the Men's T45-47 100m Final on day five of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 02, 2022 in the Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

It was a huge setback for the youngster, who watched on from home as training partner Thomas Young won gold for ParalympicsGB.

“Tokyo was all I focused on last year,” he said. “Training with Thomas and then not getting to the Games with him had an impact on me.

“It’s given me that extra drive and determination to not allow any more mistakes to happen, and make sure I plan myself well in advance.

“Thomas and I are really good friends and it’s nice to train with someone who has similar goals and ambitions.”

Oyinbo-Coker got his chance to shine at the Commonwealth Games with 100m victory in a wind-legal personal best time of 10.94 seconds.

The aftermath captured the imagination more than the race itself as Oyinbo-Coker wheeled away to celebrate with dozens of family members clad in ‘Team E-man” shirts and caps.

The resulting clip went viral on social media - not that the man himself had any idea.

He said: “I was so shocked when I saw the hats, no-one told me they were doing it. They must have planned it themselves.

“I’ve still got a few spare caps back home!

“A lot of people saw that moment and my family had lots of people come up to them and say ‘you’re the family of that boy who won gold.’

“When I heard that it gave me a sense of pride, I was proud that it happened and it encourages me to do more in the sport.”

Oyinbo-Coker’s superb 2022 has been rewarded with nomination for SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award, shortlisted in the top 10 from a raft of 1,000 young athletes supported by the charity across 60 different sports.

The award was launched in 2006 to shine a spotlight on the outstanding achievements of Britain’s brightest young prospects, with Tom Daley, Hollie Arnold, Courtney Tulloch, Amber Hill, Morgan Lake and Alex Yee among the former winners.

Oyinbo-Coker, who received his SportsAid support through the Backing The Best programme this year, said: “It’s been a great year and this is the icing on the cake.”

The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s Celebrate the Next event, supported by Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Thursday 17 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.