Tag Archives: Nigerian

Athlete Interview: ALEX AL-AMEEN – 2nd place in 110m Hurdles at Nigerian Trials, formerly of Team GB!!!

4 Jul

25 year-old Alex Al-Ameen speaks exclusively to MAKING OF CHAMPIONS after finishing 2nd in the 110 metre hurdles (in 13.75s) at the 2014 Nigerian Trials

Congratulations for your 2nd place in the 110 hurdles at the Nigerian Trials. How do you feel about your race?

It was an okay race – I didn’t get out as well as I did yesterday (in the semis), but I had to go to the passport office this morning. They made me wait there for an hour, and then when I got here, the race was delayed by half an hour, so considering the conditions, I reckon that I ran an okay race

I can detect a bit of a British accent in your voice? How long have you been competing for Nigeria?

Yes, I am from London. This is my first time competing at the Nigerian Championships. My dad is Nigerian, and my mum is English, and I just recently got my (Nigerian) passport, so I am able to compete for Nigeria this year at the Commonwealth Games and African Champs. 

So how long have you been an athlete?

I’ve been doing it since I was 14. I went to the World Junior Championships for Great Britain and made the semi-finals, and I have been doing it ever since. This year, I’ve started taking it seriously with my coach, and ever since then I have been running PBs – I can’t complain

How old are you now?

I just turned 25.

So what made you decide to switch from representing Team GB to representing Nigeria?

Well, to be honest, I didn’t get picked by England for the Commonwealth Games, I was No. 4 for Great Britain. I knew that if I came to Nigeria I might have the opportunity to compete at the highest level, because I know that I can perform at the highest level. That’s how I came to my decision

So your 2nd place here means you have qualified for the Commonwealth Games for Team Nigeria, so congratulations. 

Thank you.

How do you feel about going up against the other countries, particularly the England team which you didn’t get into? What are your hopes for the Commonwealth Games?

Well, to be honest, my aspirations are to make the final, and I believe that I can mix it with the best of them. I just got my visa on Monday and booked my flight and come straight here, so my preparation hasn’t been that good for these championships, but I know that I am getting better with every race. Yesterday I ran 13.56s, my second fastest time, so I am getting better with every race. 

Ok, well congratulations again and see you at the Commonwealth Games!

Thank you.

Alex Al-Ameen, recently switched allegiances from Team GB, and placed second in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 Nigerian Trials (his father is Nigerian)

Alex Al-Ameen, recently switched allegiances from Team GB, and placed second in the 110m Hurdles at the 2014 Nigerian Trials (his father is Nigerian)

* A week after the Nigerian Trials, Al-Ameen also competed at the British Athletics Championships (last weekend) in the 110m Hurdles, finishing 3rd in 13.64s. At this stage it is unclear whether this means he is still in contention for a place on Team England for the Commonwealth Games, after having already been named in Team Nigeria for the Commonwealth Games.

One former Nigerian Athlete who has made his feelings about the recruitment of US and UK athletes to Team Nigeria is Double Olympic Medallist Enefiok Udo-Obong, who did not mince words earlier this week on his blog where he expressed his strong feelings about Al-Ameen’s candidacy to represent Nigeria!

Athlete Interview: MONZAVOUS EDWARDS – 2nd place in 100m at Nigerian Trials, formerly of Team USA!!!

3 Jul

33 year-old Monzavous Edwards speaks exclusively to MAKING OF CHAMPIONS after finishing 2nd in the 100 metres (in 10.39s into -2.3 m/s headwind) at the 2014 Nigerian Trials

Monzavous, how are you feeling about your performance?

I’ll take it. I know it’s not my best, but you can never complain when the main focus was to make it to the Commonwealth. I finished in the Top 3, so the main objective was completed. I’m not satisfied, nor happy with my result, but like I said, I’ll take it.

These Trials and the Warri Relays last week – is it your first times competing for Team Nigeria? 

Yes

Can you tell us about your journey from competing for USA to Nigeria – what made you decide to make the switch?

It was an appreciation for the sport, and more of an appreciation of me as an athlete and a sprinter. In America there’s so much competition that it is hard to be appreciated for all the hard work that you put in. And having the chance to get with my family and switch to Nigeria. Since I’ve made that switch, I’ve felt more than appreciated as a professional athlete. So that was the main reason for it.

You mentioned your family just now. Can you tell us a bit about that – what are your connections to Nigeria, in terms of your heritage?

It’s from my grandparents. Actually, it’s from my great-great-grandparents, if I said that right. Let me see…1, 2 (counts on his fingers)…yeah I said it right. 

So what’s your PB in the 100 metres?

9.95 seconds

Wow, that’s impressive. When did you do that?

In 2010.

What are your hopes for the Commonwealth Games, and competing for Team Nigeria generally – do you think you can take your PB lower? 

Actually, I know I can because for the last 2 years I have dealt with injuries so it’s been a climb to get back. I know where my training is at, and I know where I am at. I’ve only been here a week, and it usually takes my body up to 10 days to get acclimated, so I know that I am sub-10 ready. For the Commonwealth Games I am looking to make sure that I win, with something around the 9.8 range, because I will have time to get there and get used to it. Athletes are different and bodies are different. Some athletes can get acclimated quicker, some take longer. I’ve been doing this sport for some years now and it takes me about 10 days. 

You better get to Glasgow quickly then?

Yeah I already told them, I need to be in Glasgow like 2 weeks before!

Is this your first time in Nigeria? What has the experience been like so far?

Yes. So far I have loved. I have to be honest with you, I have loved every bit of it. The weather is a bit hot, but other than that it’s been wonderful

Final question for you. Best to get this out of the way now because you will get it later on down the line – can you tell us about the gold teeth?

Well, I had an accident back in 2013 – I actually have a metal plate in my chin, and I lost some teeth in the accident, so I had my mouth wired shut for 3 months, so that’s actually how I got the gold teeth. 

Was it a car accident?

No actually I fainted – I had a mild seizure and when I fell, I fell on my face. So this is a metal plate – I lost all these teeth at the top, and the ones at the bottom don’t work as the nerves are dead. 

Wow, so there’s a good reason for it.

Oh yeah, yeah. It’s not for fashion! Definitely not for fashion! 

Monzavous 'Jolomi' Edwards, recently switched allegiances from Team USA, and placed second in the 100 metres at the 2014 Nigerian Trials

Monzavous ‘Jolomi’ Edwards, recently switched allegiances from Team USA, and placed second in the 100 metres at the 2014 Nigerian Trials

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