Nigerian born and Qatar 200m and 400m gold medalist at the just concluded Asian Games, Femi Ogunode in this interview with SportsDay’s Oke Oluku reveals the rationale behind his decision of choosing Qatar ahead of Nigeria.
What attracted you to athletics and how did you become involved?
Well I will say that nothing attracted me to athletics, the sport is what I like and what I love to become since when I was young. I started having the zeal for athletics since I was young so there is really nothing that attracted me to the sport.
I got my talent from God; it is a gift from God almighty.
Being a Nigerian who runs for Qatar, what do you know about Nigerian athletics?
Nigeria has good athletes but the problem they are having is that there is nobody to encourage them.
All they need do is to give the athletes the best opportunity to prove themselves on track, motivate them financially and you will see the potentials in them.
How was your upbringing like?
Well my upbringing was very good; I had a good time growing up
Why did you choose Qatar Instead of Nigeria?
I decided to choose Qatar because it is always good seeing people encouraging you when you do something good and I am aspiring to be a great athlete and Qatar is where my heart is at the moment.
You won the 200m and 400m crown at the Asian Games in Guangzhou-China, how does it feel like winning for an adopted country?
I feel great because in Qatar, they know my value and they are really appreciating me for doing the country proud. You know it is always good to win and winning the 200 and 400m gold during the Asian Games really made me happy.
The Athletics federation of Nigeria recently signed a new deal with NIKE, amongst it, rewarding Nigerian athletes; do you think this deal will help Nigeria athletics?
The answer to this question is no, I said no because the money will not be going to the athletes directly. We all know how these things are done in Nigeria.
With this new deal with NIKE, if called to represent Nigeria, will you change your status as a Qatar athlete?
I will never change my status as a Qatari sprinter.
You are the best 200m and 400m in Asia, does this act as a huge motivation?
Sure it does, this will ginger me to greater height.
What is your favorite distance?
Sprint of course.
What has been your best highlight to date?
Winning the Asian Games 200m and 400m gold medal are my best highlight for the year.
What are your ambitions?
My ambition right now is to become a legend, World and Olympic champion.
Which is the best and which is the worst part of being an athlete?
The best is to be winning, and the worst is to loose, you know how it feels to lose a race or a mark.
Advice for upcoming athletes
My advice to them is to train hard and be focus. Believe in themselves and trust in God.