Ndubisi Nwade knows the meaning of dedication.
After careening through the finals of the 110-meter hurdles last Wednesday, the Van Buren junior hurdler/long jumper once again earned himself a place among the citys elite in qualifying for the PSAL City Championships.
But because the Championships are scheduled for Saturday, June 2, Queens top hurdler will have to pass on the season finale as it conflicts with his religious faith.
As a member of the Seven-Day Adventist Church, Nwade celebrates the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. With many of the PSALs track meets slated for Saturday over the course of the season, Nwade has had to decide whether to observe his religious laws or participate in his hobby. For Nwade, there is only one decision.
[If there is a conflict] I definitely dont run, Nwade said. Ive qualified for the city championships a few times, but Ive never been able to go because its always held on a Saturday.
Van Buren coach Marty Laskin tried to accommodate Nwades schedule during the season.
I tried to make sure to schedule a couple of Sunday meets this season, Laskin said. Because of his religion, there are times he cant participate.
While Nwade wont get the opportunity to face off against some of the citys top talent in his event, the season was a revelation for Laskin, as Nwade established himself not only as one of the top runners in the area over the barriers, but also showed flashes of brilliance in the long jump.
The long jump could wind up being his best event, Laskin said. Hes very raw, but talented. Right now hes just jumping on raw energy. But eventually I think he may be able to jump over 22 feet.
Laskin recognized quickly that he also had a budding talent in the hurdles.
When I first saw him, said Laskin, I said Ive got to develop this kid into a top-notch hurdler. Hes powerful and hes very fast between the hurdles.
Despite the fact that Nwade wont be able to compete Saturday for the Killer Bees, Laskin was glad his up-and-coming talent got the opportunity to distinguish himself against the boroughs best.
Im very thankful the Queens championships didnt take place on a Saturday, Laskin said.
While Nwade will spend another city championship celebrating his faith, ultimately he believes his decision could be a rewarding one.
Its trying, said Nwade, but I think its worth it. I feel like Ive done something and Im taking a stand for something I believe in.
Reach Contributing Writer Brian Towey by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2001 Community News Group
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