EXCLUSIVE Interview (Part II) with MAURICE GREENE, Team Nigeria’s Relay Coach, on the new craze for recruiting American Athletes!

24 Jun

Yesterday we published Part I of our EXCLUSIVE interview with MAURICE GREENE, Former World Record Holder, Olympic GOLD Medallist and 3-time World Champion in the 100 metres. Here’s the conclusion  – we met with him on his very first visit to Nigeria for the National Athletics Championships, to get his view on the new craze of recruiting American athletes to compete for Nigeria, and his future as Team Nigeria’s Relay Coordinator!

 

On the men’s side, Nigeria has struggled a lot recently. As a matter of fact, we haven’t had a sub-10 second sprinter since Olusoji Fasuba in 2006, when he set the African Record of 9.85s. What do you think we can do at the Commonwealth Games, when our men are only running 10.2 to 10.3 seconds?

Well, we’ve got to work. Today (at the Nigerian Trials) there’s a big headwind, so you can’t just look at the times of the races. You’ve got to look at how they produce, the elements and everything else that goes into a performance. When you get into a championship race it does not matter what time you run, what matters is what place you get. And if you look at the performance in the 100 metre finals at these Trials just now, it was a bit deceptive, because Ogho (Egwero) really did not start well at all. He stumbled out of the blocks and was dead last, but he was able to move through the race and finish strong, and still managed to get third. So that should tell you something, he would have run better, and pushed the others to run better, and then anything can happen. So everything happens in the race – it doesn’t matter what the time is, it’s the placing that matters most of all, and what happens during the race.

Speaking of that race, Mark Jelks just won the Nigerian 100m title, and both he and Monzavous Edwards in 2nd place just recently switched allegiances to Nigeria from Team USA. Can you tell us more about this trend of athletes, American athletes especially, suddenly finding their roots in Nigeria, and coming to compete for Nigeria?

Well, I think that it’s a good thing. They are great athletes and they just decided to come and run where their roots are and not there where they grew up. So I think it’s a good thing, it’s going to help out the country, because really this country has a lot of great athletes. If you see the trend, all it takes is for one athlete in the country to do something, then the next person then starts to believe that they can do it too, so that’s all it takes. Once one person does it, then another person does it, then another – it’s just a domino effect.

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Do you think this trend of recruit foreign athletes is sustainable? Do you not think that we should be developing more athletes in Nigeria?

No, but we are also developing the athletes in Nigeria, at the same time.

Okay, fair enough. So we understand that you signed a four month contract until the Commonwealth Games. Do you hope to continue after the Games as the Relay Coach for Team Nigeria?

I will continue after that, I will be here longer than that. We have already started discussing what will happen next year and the years after, so my plans are to continue on. My job here is to make the world realise how great Team Nigeria is. They have a lot of great athletes, and my job is to bring out that talent and make the world see it.

Do you think that Nigeria can be as good as the Jamaicans and Americans in a few years?

I believe that we can do that in a year. Especially in the Relays. Especially the women.

You sound confident that you can lead Team Nigeria to surpass even Team USA?

That’s my vision.

I suppose if that were to happen, Team USA might give you a call to give you a job over there instead?

Who cares? I’m not worried about them right now. My job is here, to help Nigeria do the best job possible, and that’s what I am going to do.

Is this your first time in Nigeria, for the National Trials? 

Yes, this is my first time.

What’s your impression of Nigeria so far, how have you found it? 

Well, you know, every place is different, but my experience has been very nice. The people have treated me very well – everything is good.

Fantastic! So we hope to see you in Nigeria more, coaching the kids over here too?

I will. I will be, I promise.

Final question for you – You’re the fastest man ever, still, in the 60 metres, with a World Record of 6.39 seconds which has stood since 1998! What can you do to teach our guys here how to start fast?

Look at Obinna (Metu), look at Ogho (Egwero), I’m teaching him. It will be a journey but it’s a start. You’ve got to start somewhere.

Maurice, thank you for taking the time to speak exclusively to MAKING OF CHAMPIONS

Thank you!

Maurice Greene, Nigeria's Relay Team Coordinator (R), with Making of Champions Founder & CEO, Bambo Akani (L)

Maurice Greene, Nigeria’s Relay Team Coordinator (R), with Making of Champions                       Founder & CEO, Bambo Akani (L) at the 2014 Nigerian Trials in Calabar

 

 

One Response to “EXCLUSIVE Interview (Part II) with MAURICE GREENE, Team Nigeria’s Relay Coach, on the new craze for recruiting American Athletes!”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. EXCLUSIVE Interview (Part I) with MAURICE GREENE, former 100m world record holder & Team Nigeria’s new Relay Coordinator! | Making of Champions - June 24, 2014

    […] in tomorrow for the conclusion of this exclusive interview with Maurice Greene, during his first ever trip to Nigeria for the National Trials in Calabar, where he weighs in on […]

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