Austin Nwoye, a 2018 National Sports Festival Discus gold medallist says the death of his coach, coupled with an arm injury, affected him psychologically during the 2018 Athletics season.
Nwoye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday that training without his coach, Felix Opuana, who died on Aug. 27, had not been easy.
“The death of my coach and my inability to compete at the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) championships in 2018 affected me,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the discus thrower, who was listed with others for the CAA championships held at Asaba in August, could not attend due to an arm injury.
“I’ll say that every disappointment is a blessing. The 2018 season has been hectic and it affected me psychologically.
“I had hoped to show my hard work at the CAA championships but injury struck. I am happy with the recovery, so far.
“Losing my coach wasn’t easy at all but I had to push forward to meet up with the target we had set; that was the motivation.
“His dedication to this game and passion is unrivalled. He believed so much in hard work.
“He rarely missed a training day, unless it was unavoidable. His dedication, passion and punctuality are worth emulating,’’ he said.
Nwoye said that part of his target for 2019 was to surpass the entry standard for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.
“We have the World Championships coming up late next year, and surpassing the entry standard is the goal,’’ he said.
Nwoye added that one of his greatest aspiration was to participate in the 2020 Olympics and win a medal.
“To be at the Olympics is every athlete’s dream; it’s more worthwhile to add an Olympic medal to the tally,’’ he said.
The athlete, however, pleaded with the relevant authorities to provide the needed facilities for the athletes to excel.