Olympics 2016: Smoky Hill grad, Kansas sprinter Sanni qualifies for Olympic Games with Nigeria


Zainab Sanni had to go a long way to fulfill her Olympic dream, but the diminutive former Smoky Hill track star got it done.

Sanni, a senior-to-be at the University of Kansas, took part in the All-Nigeria Championships (which serve as the Olympic trials for the country) July 7-8 at the Sapale Township Stadium.

By finishing sixth in the women’s 100 meters, Sanni put herself in the pool to run with Nigeria’s 4×100 meter relay team in the prelims on Aug. 18 in Rio de Janeiro. According to the Kansas athletic website, Sanni missed out on qualifying for the Olympics individually in the 100 and 200 meters.

Sanni’s junior season with the Jayhawks included a runner-up result in the 100 meters at the Big 12 championships and she ran legs on Kansas’ top-three 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

As a senior at Smoky Hill in 2013, Sanni finished a career-best second in the 100 meter dash at the Class 5A state track meet, coming in behind triple-crown winner and current University of Colorado athlete Ana Holland, then of Regis Jesuit. She was a multiple-time team captain for the Buffs.

Sanni joins a group of Olympic qualifiers from Aurora high schools that stands at three, as Regis Jesuit grads Missy Franklin and Clark Smith have both earned chances to represent the United States in swimming at the Games.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel