‘African athletes must be mentally prepared for big occasions’
President of African Athletics Confederation (CAA), Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, has said that athletes from the continent must be prepared mentally to achieve good results at major competitions like the World Championships and Olympic Games.
The Camerounian, who became CAA president in 2003 when his predecessor, Lamine Diack, was elected president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), told The Guardian at the Marriott Hotel, Budapest, on Tuesday that for an athlete to achieve major success, he or she must be mentally prepared.
“I watched what the American sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, did in the women’s 100m final on Monday night. It takes mental preparation for an athlete to achieve such great feat in athletics.
“That is what I mean by mental preparation. We need to take this message to all African countries,” he stated. Against all expectations, Richardson showed up in style to snatch the gold medal in the 100m women’s final on Monday night, as she stopped the clock in a championship record time of 10.65 seconds, taking 0.02 seconds off Fraser-Pryce’s time set last year in Oregon.
It was an iconic showdown that denied the Jamaicans the kind of golden finish they had envisaged. In the last decade, Jamaican athletes have won four titles in six editions of the World Championships, including a medal sweep last year in Oregon.
They were gunning for a fifth here in Budapest, but were stopped by the new sheriff in town – Richardson, who, ironically, nearly crashed out in the semifinals race.
Kalkaba also tasked governments in various African countries to invest more in athletics the same way they pump funds into football.
“Our governments back home must stop thinking about football alone. They have to invest in athletics the same way they pump money onto football. The corporate bodies must also key in by helping the various athletics federations across Africa in preparing athletes for major competitions. They should not leave everything to the government alone. I know that corruption is one of the key issues in our continent, but there are good people and corporate bodies that can help athletics to grow,” Kalkaba told The Guardian.
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