*Corruption in football drove me to athletics
*Tell Gusau to invest in me and reap the results
By Olajide Fashikun
Nwanaga Kelechi Promise was born on the 24th of December 1997. I am from Umuoriehi Isingwu in Umuahia North LGA of Abia State. I am from a family of five. All my siblings are sports inclined but I am for now the only one hitting the national level representing Nigeria.
I am known to be a javelin thrower but I played football for a long time before moving into athletics which I am grateful to God for. I dedicated my all to football but had to stop due to a development that forced me out.
I was good enough to be invited to the national team where I was dropped at the last minute for less endowed members. I just want to keep it low for now. There was corruption of the highest order in the national team. I cried all night and swore never to return to the sport. This resulted to me changing my mind. I chose athletics and I have not regretted that decision.
I began in 2013. I was encouraged by an athlete from Akwa Ibom to join athletics and that was how I started athletics.
Parental support for her sports talent: Well, the only surviving parent I have is my mum. She has been my back-bone. She has been praying for me and her advice has been tremendously helpful.
When I joined athletics, the coach that discovered me, Coach Ubong Isaac from Akwa Ibom, said from the first day he saw me, he saw something unique in me. Alongside the encouragement from my mum who in her days was also a javelin thrower, I follow her footsteps and with the encouragement from coach Ubong as well, it spurred me up to put my best in my training and that’s why I am where I’m today.
Well, 2015 was my first time representing the Nigeria in athletics. I was scared because the people I met were of different nationalities, I have watched them on TV. So I was just psyching myself that I could do it and at the end I came home with a silver medal.
Ozoro was my magic wand: The 2015 African Gold medallist set a new Nigerian record in Javelin with a throw of 58.15metres surpassing Sorochukwu Ihuefo’s 15 years old record mark of 55.30metres made at the 2002 African championship in Tunisia. This feat was achieved at the 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix held at the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, said Nwanaga.
Give President Gusau my message: With a voice of an amazon, Nwanaga said, “please, help me call the attention of President Ibrahim Gusau to my need. What I need now is an investment either the Nordic or Nemeth javelin which is in vogue at international competitions.
“If he can invest this tool on me, then, he should wait and reap the fruits in a short while. I believe so much in myself. I spoke to aunty Mary (Onyali) to use her position and name to get me what I need and a little exposure, training tours. The one I am using now is not even good to train with any
longer for my class of athlete.”
“If these investments can be made on me, my sponsors should expect nothing less than a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics from me. You can only use the javelin I use now to train upcoming athletes to show them that this is javelin. I am passionate talking like because I know what I can do.”
First international trip to Ethiopia: The first experience I had in Ethiopia was what gave me the courage because the distance the winner threw in that competition was the distance I was joking with in training but due to fear and low self-esteem I lost the gold. I settled for Silver.
When we got back home, I had to encourage myself and intensified my training to be the best I could be in order to make the senior team. I told myself that if I do, I would work extra hard to win the Gold medal and I did.
Focus: I am hoping to work very hard to not just be at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I’m working with my sub-standard javelin towards that. If I can get the kind of equipment I need, by this time next year I would have improved so well. I know by 2020 I should be in my 60m-70m throws. If I should be in that range I would be on the podium.