Academy of Art’s Mobolade Ajomale goes for gold

Mobolade Ajomale is special. How many other Division II athletes have run with the legendary Usain Bolt and have an Olympic bronze medal?

Ajomale, who was born in London but raised outside of Toronto, is the star of the Academy of Art University men’s track and field team. He’s won six NCAA Division II National Titles and is an 11-time All-American. At the 2018 Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, Ajomale ran a 6.60 in the 60m and 20.91 in the 200m and became only the second Division II athlete to win the 60m and 200m in consecutive years.

Ajomale was part of the Canadian team for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympics and ran in the 4x100m relay with his team winning the bronze medal with a time of 37.89 seconds.

“Getting the gold is definitely my goal,” Ajomale said. “Winning a bronze medal was an unbelievable experience but I want to go back to the Olympics, Tokyo 2020, and go there and get my own medal. A gold medal is the ultimate goal.”

Despite all of his achievements, Ajomale is still hungry.

SEE RELATED: Academy of Art runner adds a couple more national titles

“Every time I race in Division II, I want to win but at the end of the day I am not just competing against those people who are there,” Ajomale said. “I am competing to be the best in the world every time I step on the track. I just want to run as fast as possible.”

There are still some Division II championships that have eluded Ajomale so far.
“I have never won the 200 meter outdoors. I am not going to let anything get in the way of me winning that race,” Ajomale said.

Ajomale’s coach at Art U, Kevin LaSure, sees all the hard work he puts in and that will continue for the next two years with one goal on his mind: Qualifying for the Olympics during the summer of 2020.

He must qualify for the trials and then compete at nationals, placing in the top three or four, to earn a spot in the individual event or relays.

Most elite runners from Canada go to America to run in college. There were obstacles on the way for Ajomale.

“It was a really long story,” he started. “I had originally signed with the University of Alabama and just some of my courses wouldn’t transfer over because the Canadian school system is different than the American one. I found out at the end of the summer of 2014 I couldn’t go to Alabama. Literally in the span of a week, I found out I couldn’t go Division I and then I got a call from the coach here saying we have a scholarship for you.”

LaSure’s motivations were simple.

“Anytime you can athlete of that caliber you got to do it,” he said.

Ajomale said Art U was “literally my last option.” But he took the leap regardless.

“I never look as myself as above any division,” Ajomale said. “I’m just happy for the option to compete. Once I got here, I realized this program is run similar to Division I programs.

He cited the fact the Urban Knights face Division I and Olympic athletes thanks to their schedule.

At just 22 years old, the redshirt junior already has made memories most in the running world would kill for. Like the time in London at the 2017 World Championships, when he ran side-by-side with Usain Bolt in the legendary sprinter’s last race.

“We were next to each other in the lanes, and during the prelims I got to pick his brain,” Ajomale recalled. “I was asking him some silly questions and he gave me some silly answers, it was just a really good educational moment for me.”

He can only hope that lighthearted exchange helps him reach his ultimate goal: Winning gold.

Patrick Cochran
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Patrick Cochran

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