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5-year-olds key for Nigeria’s sporting glory – Omeiza

Tell us more about yourself and how you got into athletics? Sports has been a huge part of my life, from playing soccer to running…

Tell us more about yourself and how you got into athletics?
Sports has been a huge part of my life, from playing soccer to running track i have always loved sports. It’s been a love/hate relationship from the day i started running track till now. As a kid i grow up around intellectually sound minds from my parents to my siblings and my neighborhood, everyone around me was either a scholar or trying to be a scholar.
Sports was pretty much an alien to my family, when i started taking track more serious about 5 years ago, i came in contact with two great guys at the Uniben sport complex, kayode yaya and Chima Osuagwu they thought me everything about track and field and taught me important life lessons.
 I also had the most supportive family in the world. My decision was a shock to a lot of people because they could not understand why my parents will support me considering their background in education but the truth is they were happy enough that i was staying out of trouble because i was not really interested in school at the time.

What are your personal bests for the 200 and 400m which you partake and how hard are you working to better them?  

I honestly see myself right now as an all-round sprinter. Yes i run the longer sprints which i love but i have everything it takes to also run the shorter sprints (100m and 60m). Currently i have personal best of 21.33 in the 200m, 46.56 in the 400m and a decent 10.59 and 6.81 in the 100m and 60m respectively, as the season progresses, I’m in the right shape to obliterate these time.

How did it feel missing last year’s World University Games in South Korea and due to sponsorship and what can Nigeria do to avoid something like this again?

 Missing the world university games hurt because it would have given me an opportunity to compete among really good athletes. But I’m glad i have another chance since I’m only a sophomore. i struggled a lot with injuries and falling ill last year, so i was not able to do a lot in terms of running fast times but I’m fully healthy now and looking forward to running fast.

You won two gold medals and Silver at the Summit League Indoor Championships how vital was that for your 2016 season?
 To be better in any area in life, you have to prepare and consciously take steps to do better. These will lead to good success. We need to have a more long-term mind set in Nigeria to be able to compete among the best in the world. We all have a role to play if we can shift responsibility.

The Olympics is around the corner, would it be a dream come true for you to represent Nigeria and how big an asset could you be to the team?

The goal now is Rio Olympics; it doesn’t get bigger than that. I will be doing everything possible to be an integral part of team Nigeria and by the grace of God make the country proud at the Games.

Sports in Nigeria have always had issues in terms of funding and investment, what other three things do you feel can enhance the sector in the country?

For sports in Nigeria especially track and field to get more recognition and funding, we need to develop a long term program that start with kids as early as 5 years old and provide them with the adequate facility and nutrition to be world class athletes by the time they are 16 and 17. Right now there is no structure what so ever on ground in Nigeria. If you do not have a structure for development, how do you measure progress?
 

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