In this Exclusive Interview 12th All Africa Games Gold Medalist AMAS DANIEL spoke with JOSEPH ODOEKWU of Sports Intelligence Magazine about his experience in Wrestling. Though he is yet to win an Olympic Medal in Wrestling, he is however optimistic that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. The excerpt reads.
Congratulations for winning the gold medal at the just concluded All Africa Games for Nigeria, how do you feel about that?
I feel great and so excited. It’s an honour standing at the centre of the podium for my country at the All Africa Games. Every athlete strives to have that feelings it is one of the highest honours.
What does it look like representing Nigeria at the Games?
The feeling is great. It is a big honour to be selected to represent Nigeria among the millions of people in the country. More so, when there are millions of Nigerians watching you and cheering you up to success during the Games, the adulation is great and marvelous.
You once took part in the EWE Championship what does it look like?
Ewe Championship was a source of inspiration for me and it actually helped me fight locally and test my strength. I hope to fight again in December 2019 when another edition comes up and I will give in my best.
Do you have prospects for the Olympics and if yes, what are your expectations?
Every athlete wants to be at the Olympics and make an impact and that is my target too. Taking part in the Olympics is the highest point of an athlete’s sporting career and winning the Olympic medal is the ultimate. I competed at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics in Brazil. But my vision is not just to bear the name of an Olympian, but to win medals at the Olympics. But it’s a little bit tough, that dream can be easily achieved when I attend other world tournaments and compete with world champions, which also serve at the Olympic qualifier, but there are no sponsors to support this and that is a big challenge. The World championship which is the first Olympics qualifier came up on the 14th September, 2019. But I have no sponsor. I just need sponsors to make my dream come to reality.
Are you saying as you did not make the September 14th deadline, you will not make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
There will be another opportunity and that will be in March 2020 at the Africa/Oceania qualification. But what faith does a medal aspiring athlete have when he does not attend World Championship that would be a good preparation ground for the Olympics.
What plans do you have in place now to win a medal at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
I am currently dedicated to training now. I am hoping to attend many international tournaments before then and have an opportunity to compete with the top five wrestlers that are in my category.
What do you think the government need to do to develop Wrestling?
The government should try and encourage wrestling by hosting championships at available times. They should also sponsor wrestlers from time to time to take part in international tournaments, give scholarships to wrestlers to study within and outside the country. In addition, building of world standard training centers with all needed facilities is also key.
On a personal note, what are you doing to develop wrestling in Nigeria?
I am doing my best in my own little way to feature young wrestlers who will comfortably take over from me and others when we retire.
Thank you very much for making out time to talk with us?
Thank you too.