Sunday, July 10, 2016 7:29 pm
Edem Offiong of Nigeria will be hoping for a good outing at Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Offiong, who hails from Cross River State , will never want to remember what she had to endure to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She described the experience as the worst in her career.
Aside being the favourite to qualify in Sudan where the final continental qualifiers took place, Edem Offiong was ahead of most of the competitors considering her rating and records.
Having featured in two Olympic Games – Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, Offiong is hoping for the best in Brazil but what would make her not to forget Rio was the way and manner she had to qualify.
From the first day of the two-day Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Edem Offiong was restless and she could not sleep for hours at night as the threat of not making it to Rio was reverberating in her brain.
“I would not want to remember my experience in Sudan because from the first day of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, I could not sleep as I was always thinking about the matches I would play. Even when I got to the table, I was a bit nervous. I think my quarterfinal match against Algeria’s Islem Laid was the most difficult for me in Sudan. I don’t think Islem Laid has ever given me any threat in all our meetings but I just realized that I was nervous in the match and before I could realize she was leading 2-0.
“But the pep talk from Segun Toriola who acted as my coach really calmed me. So I was able to comport myself and finish the match. The semifinal and final matches were easy but the tie against Islem Laid was the toughest for me in my career,” she admitted.
“Unlike previous Olympic Games where I had to qualify through the African Games, qualifying for Rio is one of the greatest achievements,” she said.
However, Offiong is not too happy with the overall preparation of Team Nigeria for the Rio Olympic Games but she is determined to make a mark in Brazil. “I am not really happy with the kind of preparation of Nigeria for the Olympic Games, but personally I am training three hours every day hoping that my best will be enough for me in Brazil. I have not gone beyond the preliminary but I hope I can make it to the main draw this year,” she added.
The 2011 African Games women singles champion believes the Olympic Games is the biggest stage for every athlete, adding that she would cherish every moment in Brazil.
“It is the dream of every athlete to compete at the Olympic Games and it is not everybody that makes it to the games so for me Olympic Games is biggest competition in the world as it brings athletes all across the world together. It is only event that gives athletes the opportunity to mix up with athletes from different sports. So making it to my third Olympic Games is a dream comes true and I will forever cherish it,” she added.