Ireland's Chiedozie Ogbene has claimed that he studied the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, during the preliminary stages of his footballing career.
Ogbene (26) is starting to make waves in English football after signing for Luton Town this summer. His electric pace has become a hallmark of his footballing brand. Ogbene's speed of 36.93 kph – 23 mph was recorded in September, and this stat puts him up there with some of the best players in the Premier League. These include the likes of Wolves’ Pedro Neto, Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai, and Manchester City's speedster Kyle Walker.
Despite being from a family of talented runners and sprinters, the Ireland player admits that he was never top of the class when it came to who was the fastest kid in Cork.
“I kid you not, when I was younger, I wouldn’t win all the races; there were kids a lot faster than me,” Ogbene told PA news agency.
This meant that Ogbene started to ask questions around how he could improve his running style and technique.
“Maybe I was the fastest in the school, but I wasn’t the fastest in County Cork. Not being the fastest led me to think, why? What are the fastest doing?
“I used running to work on technique when I went back to Gaelic football or soccer, but as I got older, I developed a more powerful hunger for running."
🇮🇪| Chiedozie Ogbene has been named the Luton Town Player of the Month for October
He also won the same award in August/September
Chieoooooooo 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/rFd30cZkqI
— IrishPropaganda🇮🇪⚽️ (@IrishPropaganda) December 5, 2023
Usain Bolt's performances in the 2012 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4 × 100 meters relay, where he broke several records, inspired the former Cork native to change how he viewed running. He now applies the 90 percent rule when he faces some of the world's best defenders.
“Bolt is obviously someone I loved, the way he runs, his mechanics, but obviously I’m not six foot five, so I don’t try to hyperextend the way he can. I just love the way he is. He’s like a piston.
“Sprinters advise to run at 90 to 95 percent; they don’t try to run at 100 percent. If you get to 100 percent, you stress yourself.
“The 90 percent rule, it’s called. At 90 percent, you’re telling your brain, ‘I’m relaxed, I’m only looking for 90,’ and you end up running quicker because your brain is not chasing a goal.”
Ogbene's Luton play Manchester City this weekend.