Sports

It’s exciting to finally break Ajunwa’s 25-year-old record –Ese Brume

One of the country’s medal hopefuls at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Ese Brume, recently broke a 25-year-old African and National record in women Long Jump held by Chioma Ajunwa as she jumped a new record of 7.17m at the Chula Vista Festival in the USA. Speaking exclusively with CHARLES OGUNDIYA from her current base in the U.S., the African Games champion said she wants to take it one step at a time ahead of the Olympics. Excerpts…

How does it feel breaking that record?

I am just grateful to God and happy. I am excited that God finally did it for me. I really want to thank my coach, Kayode Yaya, for taking me through the drill and for encouraging me. I am so happy right now.

It was your last jump that gave you that record; what brought out that strength in you to go that far?

I really tried to push harder and not to settle for less because there was a goal, and I am grateful to God that I achieved that goal finally.

What was the training like for you towards achieving that feat?

Training has been crazy for me, since after the National Sports Festival, I got hurt. My coach has been trying to manage me, to prepare me for my competitions. For the past two weeks, we’ve been attending competitions backto- back. I will say it has been a progressing well for me and the result is there for all to see.

You competed in almost all the events during the sports festival, would you say that contributed to the success?

Yes it helped my performance. It is something that I have been doing in training in the past, so it was not new to me when I did it in Benin. That’s what I do whenever I want to open my season.

Olympic Games are around the corner, would you say this is a confidence boost for you?

I am trying to take it one step at a time because there are more competitions ahead before the games, so I have to be ready for the next one first before thinking of the Olympics. I am looking forward to God helping me through the Olympics.

African Championships are coming up in Lagos, do you look forward to another good jump?

I don’t know yet if I will be there. Hopefully I will make the championships to defend my title, but I am not so certain about it yet.

Breaking that 25-year-old record, do you see that as another challenge for you?

Like I said, I am trying to take it one step at a time. The target is to continue to progress in my performance each time I step out there to compete.

You beat Olympic champion, Brittney Reese, to the gold; what does that tell you?

I didn’t beat her; I just try to better myself each time I am competing.

What has been the relationship between you and your coach, Kayode Yaya, who took you away from your parents at a very tender age?

He has been a great inspiration and motivation for me. He has been behind my back, supporting me; he is someone that God has placed in charge of me. He has never relented, I could be very stubborn at times, but he continues to stay by my side, guiding me to success. I am very grateful to him, for always helping even when things are not working the way they should. Hopefully, we are going to move forward to greater heights.

What has been your advice for your two siblings who are into track and field?

I try my best to talk to them to always trust the process and most especially trust their coaches which is very important. Also the key thing, they should always put God first in whatever they are doing.

Could you tell us what has been the support from someone like Blessing Okagbare who has been like a sister to you?

She is my role model, we do communicate and she has been motivating me with her performances, I have been learning from her. I learnt from her that nothing is impossible especially with her own performance in the past seasons. She is someone that doesn’t relent and this is something I learnt from her. She also talks to me most times, advising me on what to do and what not to do.

You graduated from the university during the pandemic, are you moving ahead or just want to concentrate on your career for now?

For now all I want to do is to concentrate on my athletics career. I am not thinking of returning to school yet but surely will do that in the future.

As one of the medal hopefuls for Nigeria, what would be your expectation from the country?

To be honest, I am not expecting anything from the country because right from time they have not been doing anything, so I think that should remain like that for now. I don’t want that to bother me at all, I just want to continue to face my career and with God on my side, I know I will get there.

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