UVA All-American thrower more than just brawn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- On one side a four-time All-American in shot put and the other a chess national champion, seems like the two people would be worlds apart, but Virginia's Oghenakpobo Efekoro brings both to the table.

"I'm still involved heavily in the game," Pobo, as his teammates call him, said about the game of chess, "I think it's funny that a big guy sits at a chess board and plays."

As funny as it seems chess was Pobo's first love, he started playing when he was just five and starting playing competively in fourth grade...

"Just sitting in class and I hear the principal make an announcement talking about the chess club and how they were traveling to Denver, Colorado later in the year for the national championship," Pobo recalled, "So I was like alright I'm going to be on the chess team."

Chess even brought Pobo his first bit of fame with a documentary called "Brooklyn Castle" about his middle school chess team, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn.

"It's the best middle school chess team program in the country," Efekoro said, while having trouble remembering just how many championships the program had won, "I can't remember how many national championships we won."

It was not until a coach spotted Pobo in high school that shot put made its way into the equation.

"Pulled me to the side and said son do you want to be a track and field athlete and I laughed in his face because I was like I'm not going to run," Pobo said, "And he was like no you're not going to run, you're going to throw the shot put and I'm like "oh the big ball!"

And as Pobo says it took off from there landing him a scholarship at UConn before transferring to UVA, where his analytical mind has taken him to new heights in one of the grittiest sports.

"Leveraging the idea of planning and strategy, like in chess you have a goal, I want to checkmate the opponents king," Pobo said, "It's the same principle just I've got a ball instead of a chess piece."

The next part of Pobo's plan is to represent his parent's country of Nigeria in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but chess will never be far behind.

"I am a better person without a doubt with chess and shot putting in my life," Efekoro said, "It's not just games and a sport, it's truly just a way of life."



 
CBS19NEWS.COM COMMENT GUIDELINES
The comments sections of CBS19News.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. CBS19News.com tracks IP addresses. Repeat violators may be banned from posting comments.
View Comment Guidelines
powered by Disqus