Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MOC), Bambo Akani said his athletes are ready to challenge other athletes for a spot in the Nigerian team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Akani revealed this to journalists present at the Making of Champions kits unveiling held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday.
“It’s almost here, we had three years to prepare for the World Championship and 4 years for the Olympics. The athletes are ready and we have two athletes that will represent Nigeria, Jerry Jakpa and Joy Udo-Gabriel. We are hoping that Emmanuel Eneji who won a bronze medal at the Festival will join this year.
Preparation means anything is possible so we are encouraging all Nigerian athletes all over the world to keep pushing to do well at the Olympics and we hope our MOC athletes will be part of the Nigerian team to the Olympics,” said Akani.
“What we set out to do is what is kind of coming to past the likes of Joy, Jerry we expect them to be in the senior team this year, expect them to be at the All Africa Games, expect them to be at the World Championship and all those meets are preparation for the Olympics .
Joy came up against Marie-Josee Ta Lou and she came third, if she faces her again at the All Africa Games, then at the World Championship and also against Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce by the time she gets to the Olympics that stage fright is gone and she we will be ready to do her best for herself and for Nigeria.
The ex-investment Banker and Management Consultant admitted that it has been a challenging journey since Making of Champions Athletics Club started in 2016 but believes it will payoff soon.
“The journey like this you don’t get the result you want as quickly as you want. We started this journey in 2016 with MOC track club with the plan to get athletes to the Olympics and we want our athletes to be there but we have to be realistic that there is development and plan for the athletes. If I have 3 or 5 of them at the Olympics that will be a blessing.”
Akani added, ”This year is critical what’s going to happen in the Africa U-20, what’s going to happen in the All African Games and the World Championship all these are very important meets that Nigeria has to be at. And you will be surprise that some of the athletes that will compete at the U-20 this year will be at the Olympics next year. It just depends on how far they are in development and how ready they are to step into the senior level in 2020.
Since MOC started, they have been known to develop athletes in the track events. The avid sports writer and photo-blogger said plans are ongoing to develop athletes in the field events and possibly in other sports.
“We always wanted to start small and develop from there so we decided to just focus on the 100m, 200m, and 400m events. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything especially when you don’t have enough resources for it. So we just said lets us start from where we can manage.
We later went into the hurdles we now have a coach for that and we plan to go into more events. Eventually, we hope to move into the jumps just like how well Nigeria has done in the jumps like Blessing Okagbare, Chioma Ajunwa etc. But we are very careful to cut our coat to our size,” Akani stated.