Gold medalist at the ongoing African Regional International Gymnastics Championships in South Africa, Patience Akinola, has disclosed that Nigeria’s participation in this year’s edition has exposed them to new lessons in the sport.
Akinola and 10 other kid gymnasts represented Nigeria in the yearly championship which started on August 3 and won two gold and 11 bronze medals.
Speaking to Extra Time in Abuja, Akinola said: “This year’s championship was more competitive and a lot of new things that turned out to be lessons for us were introduced.
“We had challenges and learnt lessons from those challenges.”
She noted that she and her compatriots were victims of points deduction because they were not conversant with the new point code, but added that they will do better in future championships.
Also speaking on the team’s performance and experience, nine years old Iveren Hagher who won bronze medal said the championship has exposed them and the benefit is far more than winning the medals as they will leverage on the achievements to become champions at the Olympics.
“I am happy with the championship. It has exposed us. We won medals but my target is to go to the Olympics and become champion.” She said.
For 10-year-old Mfon Abasi Okon Bassey who also won bronze at Level Four said: “I am going to train harder to get to the higher level so that when I get there I will compete and win medals for my country.”
Meanwhile, Coach Tony Asuquo disclosed that the team returned abruptly to the country because of lack of funds.
According to him, the championship will end on August 25 but because they ran short of funds they had to cut short their participation.
He called on the National Assembly to encourage kids who through sports are bringing honours to the country.
Ben Nwachukwu, Abuja