|Born||October 30, 1989|
Amaechi Cristian Cuevas Morton (born October 30, 1989) is an American-born track and field 400-meter hurdler who competes for Nigeria. He was the 2012 400 m hurdles gold medallist at the NCAA Championships and the African Championships. He has a personal record of 48.79 seconds for the event.
Morton was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a Nigerian mother of Igbo descent, Nkem Sabena Obiekwe. He holds dual American/Nigerian citizenship. He attended Riverwood High School and while there he broke the school records in the 400 m hurdles and the 400-meter dash, as well as finishing second at the 2008 USATF Junior Olympics. He gained an athletic scholarship at Stanford University and began competing for the Stanford Cardinal in 2009.
Responding to the advice of Patience Itanyi (a Nigerian Olympian), Morton opted to compete internationally for his mother's native Nigeria. In his first year at Stanford, he ran a personal best of 50.11 seconds for the 400 m hurdles, breaking the school's 28-year-old record. He came third at the Pac-10 Conference final and was a semi-finalist at the NCAA Championships. In July, he travelled to Nigeria and came second in the 400 m dash at the national trials (running a best of 46.10 seconds). He was chosen for the 4×400-meter relay team and helped Nigeria reach the 2009 World Championships final, where they finished eighth. Returning to collegiate competition in 2010, he set a personal record of 48.94 seconds in the hurdles to finish second at the Pac-10 Championships, then earned his first All-American honours with a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoors.
He set an indoor best of 46.23 seconds over 400 m in January 2011 and was fifth in that event at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He ran a time of 49.43 for third at the Pac-10 Championships and improved one position at the NCAA Outdoors, taking second place in a season's best of 49.08 seconds. The 2012 collegiate season saw Morton develop his skills further. He ran a near-personal record (48.95) to win the Pac-10 title and also came second in the 110-meter hurdles. He went undefeated in the 400 m hurdles for Stanford that year and won the NCAA title with a best of 48.79 seconds. Morton discussed his internationally eligibility with both the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and USA Track and Field. He requested to run for the United States and American officials asked for his release from Nigerian duty, but ultimately he continued to represent Nigeria. At the 2012 African Championships in Athletics he won the continental gold medals in both the 400 m hurdles and in the relay. Given that he had achieved the Olympic qualifying standard, he was selected to participate for Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
- Crumpacker, John (2012-04-14). Amaechi Morton, Katerina Stefanidi lead Stanford. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- USTAF writes AFN on Amaechi’s release. The Punch (2012-06-15). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Amaechi Morton. Stanford Cardinal. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Morton Cristian. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Men's 4 x 400 metres relay final results Archived June 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Amaechi Morton Wins NCAA Title in the 400-meter Hurdles. Stanford Cardinal (2012-06-08). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Morton mum on Nigeria return. Vanguard Nigeria (2012-05-25). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.
- Local sports digest: Stanford's Amaechi Morton makes Nigerian Olympic team. Mercury News (2012-06-30). Retrieved on 2012-07-03.