“I didn’t do my best at the Youth Olympics, now I want to make the World Championships team.” – Favor Ofili
African Youth Games Champion, Favor Ofili had a breakthrough 2018 year which saw her crowned not just the National and African Champion, but also West African University Games (WAUG) Champion in the 400m.
More outstanding is the fact that 2018 was her full season of just focusing on the event, having being a 100m and 200m runner when she started athletics in 2016.
With a Personal best of 53.57s, Ofili has her eyes set majorly on making the World Championships team to Doha. To her that’ll be a big leap to cover up for her disappointment at the Youth Olympic Games where she failed to medal.
Seeing her meteoric progress in the 400m, that involved her massively drop her Personal best and win several races, proves she’s ready to challenge the seniors and qualify for the big stage later this summer.
At just 16, having a physique like Allyson Felix (role model) and growth tendency to get as tall as Shaunae Miller-Uibo, it won’t be far fetched to say Nigeria has got another talented superstar on the rise, if well supported and taken care of.
S: You made the Junior Preseason list, how do you feel about this?
Ofili: I feel happy. At least I made the junior preseason list.
S: Tell us more about yourself, how did you start athletics and why do you enjoy running?
Ofili: I started Athletics in 2016/2017. Running is everything to me because that’s the time that my mind is calm, focused and maybe I’m aiming also not to fall and finish strong, because it’s not how you start that matters but how you finish.
S: So what has been your biggest stride or greatest achievement since 2016?
Ofili: Wining the African Youth Games in Algeria last year.
S: You had a breakout out year in 2018, fully focusing on the 400m and running PB’s. Can you summarise your 2018 season, your determination to get each races done in good times?
Ofili: Well, let me say it’s God all the way because he’s the one that put me through. I won’t say it was easy because it wasn’t and also with the help of my coach (George Obiano), and also dedicating my time to train. Training was the main thing there, nothing else. My coach said, favour you have to train to make the team, it’s not all this your soft behaviour, I mean train hard.
And also making up my mind that I will run this 400, it was always on my mind that 400m is not easy but favour you are in you, you have to give your best.
S: You went to the Youth Olympics as African Champion, but didn’t win a medal. How did you put this disappointment behind to win at WAUG?
Ofili: Well let me start by saying the weather there (Buenos Aires) wasn’t favourable at all, but who no go, no go know. I told myself favour you are back home to the weather you are used to, so you have to do everything within your power to prove that it was the weather that affected you.
And I had an injury then, plus the cold too. But all the same, I did not do my best at the Olympics.
S: Now let’s talk about 2019, what are your goals and aspirations for the year?
Ofili: Let’s hope on to God for the best things to come.
S: You have African Junior Championships and perhaps World Championships and African Games to qualify for this year. Which are you looking forward to most to represent Nigeria at?
Ofili: World Championships.
S: That means you’re targeting a 51s this year?
S: Finally, what request will you make to AFN in order to help you succeed and achieve your dreams?
Ofili: They should remain good to the athletes, pay them well and also remember their coaches.