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Nigeria’s First Olympics Gymnast Says Podium Finish Is His Target

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Uche Eke, the first Nigerian to be competing in the Olympics gymnastics competition, says his target is to make the final of the event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Eke who hails from Igbere in Abia told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from his U.S. base after a week-long visit to Nigeria that he qualifies for the event’s final was very important.

“I must first get that right before talking about winning the gold medal,” he said.

Eke picked the Olympic Games ticket after Egyptian Zaid Khater, who won silver, missed out on the trip to Japan.

This was as a result of the one-gymnast-per-nation rule in the Tokyo 2020 continental qualification quota system.

Omar Mohamed had won gold at the African Championship, while compatriot Khater picked silver and Eke the bronze, before the rule was applied for the Nigerian to pick the ticket.

Eke however said he was not in a hurry to speak about winning a gold medal as there were many hurdles to cross before being certain of winning it.

“My target is to make the final, because I can’t jump to the conclusion of saying I want a gold medal. There are steps to it.

“My goal is to enter the final in my best events. So, I am preparing hard to ensure I can get to the final and a higher score,” he said.

The 23-year-old who has competed for the University of Michigan said that he would do his best at the Games in spite of his not having an official sponsor.

“I am the first Olympic gymnast for Nigeria and it is amazing that I found my dream a reality, though it is hard to believe it.

“But now that I know that I have qualified and will be going to the Olympics, I will give it all I have.

“I was practising at the University of Michigan before I qualified and I have also been training with my coach (Adam) who helped prepare me for the African Championship and I am working hard for the Olympics too.”

Eke is a Computer Science graduate from the University of Michigan and earned a Masters’ degree from the university’s School of Information last month. (NAN)


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