Completesportsnigeria.com's SAB OSUJI, who just returned from the 11th All Africa Games in Brazzaville, got Long Jump Gold Medalist Samson Idiata talking about his triumphant debut at the Games and his bigger challenge at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. Excerpts…
Congratulations Sampson on your men's Long Jump gold medal win. How does it feel to win gold medal at the long jump event of the 11th All Africa Games?
I'm so very happy winning a gold medal in the long jump event. My heart is filled with joy such that I don't have enough words to express my joy. Being African champion means a lot for me. This is my first All Africa Games. It has just been only four years I started off in long jump and for me to mark my first All Africa Games with not just a medal but a gold for that is something I would not stop to be happy about.
Did you expect winning the gold medal going to the 11th All Africa Games?
I came here confident of myself, confident of doing my best and was prayerful to God to see my efforts through, and today He has answered my prayers by crowning my efforts with success. I won't stop thanking God.
How were the challenges from the other jumpers, especially Badji Ndiss Kaba and Gueye Mamadou of Senegal?
Like I said earlier, this is my first All Africa Games. I also know that it was going to be tough because those Senegalese have been participating in the All Africa Games and in the long jump event too. All I did was to ensure that I followed the instructions of my coach and remained positive to succeed.
How was your preparation towards winning a gold medal medal in the long jump at the All Africa Games?
I was a high jumper before I moved to long jump and winning a gold medal in my first major competition, means I really worked hard before coming here. And I'm very very happy.
You said you were a high jumper before. That reminds me of the controversy that trailed your switch to long jump. Would you say your decision has been justified today given the fact you came from a family of high jumpers?
I don't have any regrets in my decision to move to long jump. Instead, I'm trying to ensure that I broke the national record in long jump. Tony Idiata, my elder brother holds the record in long jump. I want to get the record broken, long jump runs in our family. So I'm really happy being in long jump.
What's next on the card for Idiata after conquering Africa in the long jump event of the All Africa Games?
Life is all about moving forward all the time. You don't just stop because you have achieved one feat, instead that should be a motivation for you to aim higher, dream higher and work harder. All Africa Games is over and very soon it will be the Olympic Games. So, I have to focus on that, working harder to ensure that I win a gold medal at the Olympics too.
Athletes have always complained of poor welfare from the administrators. Now, we have a new man in the saddle at National Sports Commission, NSC. What are your expectations from him especially now that attention is going to shift from the All Africa Games to the Olympic Games coming up next year in Rio, Brazil?
I believe in change which we've already started witnessing now. I'm happy that we have a new person as Director General of the National Sports Commission, NSC. Not just being a new person on the seat, he was an active athlete before and should know what athletes go through and what they should need to deliver. At least the signs are already there because you can see what our athletes did at the Games, coming out second for the first time after a long time. So we believe that we can do better if they encourage us. If they give us what we want, we in turn will make them happy and put smiles on the faces of Nigerians too.
Are you looking forward to erasing the national record in long jump? Do you really think along that line?
Yes, I do. The record has been there for a long time and that is one of the reasons I switched to long jump. Since Chief Fali discovered me, he told me I can break the national record. He believes I'm very strong, have the physic and all atributes that make a good jumper. For him, it was like a betting and for him to have that confidence in me, I believe someday, that record will be broken, I'll break the record and that will be very soon.
Sampson thanks once again for finding time to speak with Completesportsnigeria.com
It is my pleasure.