High jumper Erhire Omamuyovwi says the championships served a good purpose “Many of us had never competed with non Nigerians before. The championship was an eye-opener to me and to many others”. He spoke exclusively to us in Abidjan.
The 2019 Confederation of African Athletics U18 and U20 Championships brought together some 700 athletes from 39 countries, who competed and familiarised themselves with each other from April 16 to 20 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Most of them attended a major continental championship for the first and even made their first trip abroad. Stress and tension were the first difficulties to surmount, as they prepared for the competitions proper.
However, fun from the mix-up quickly took control and it helped the young athletes work in a cordial environment, according to Nigeria’s Erhire Omamuyovwi, who won gold and silver in the events.
“The stress and tension was palpable right from the beginning. For me, I arrived in camp in Lagos a day after finishing my exams at school. And off we went for Abidjan,” he told ACLSports.
“Upon arriving everybody appeared stressed and tensed up. However, seeing young people like you who travelled from farther countries helped in easing the tensions and yielding inspiration.
“You meet and interact with people who don’t understand your language. You eat and drink what you’ve never seen before. I think it prepared us for future competitions which could hold in other parts of Africa and outside Africa. The bottom line is it opened our eyes,” he said.
Omamuyovwi won gold in high jump (2.08m) and silver in triple jump (14.77m) in the U18 category.