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Self-determination, hard work propelled me to Olympics final — Ese Brume


Nigeria's Ese Brume competes in the Women's Long Jump Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Nigeria’s Ese Brume competes in the Women’s Long Jump Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016.<br />FRANCK FIFE / AFP

• ‘I missed Okagbare’s inspiration in long jump’

So far, Ese Brume is the only Nigerian athlete to compete in any final event at the on-going 2016 Rio Olympics. The Commonwealth champion finished 5th in the Olympic long jump final yesterday, but she jumped her personal best of 6.81m in the process.

To some athletics followers back home, Brume may not have won a medal in Rio, her brilliant performance at the Games is worth commending.

USA’s Tianna Bartoletta won the gold with a jump of 7.17m, while her fellow country woman, Brittney Resse, finished second with a jump of 7.15m. In third place was Serbian star, Ivana Spanovic who finished at 7.08m.

The on-going 2016 Rio is Brume’s first appearance at the Olympic Games. Despite not winning a medal, Brume felt on top of the world.

I am so excited,” Brume said in a message to The Guardian yesterday evening. “And am thankful to God for bringing me this far. Despite the ups and down, I was still able to make it to the finals. I am very glad.”

The Delta State-born Brume was one of Nigeria’s most celebrated stars in 2014, after she conquered Africa and the Commonwealth. She got a gold medal for Team Nigeria at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with a jump of 6.56m. Few days later, Brume picked another gold to help Nigeria to the top of the medals table at the African senior athletics championship in Morocco. Those two competitions were Brume’s first appearance in the senior category.

Before then, Brume had ruled the junior cadre, emerging one of the most successful athletes at the 2013 African Junior Athletics Championships in Mauritius. She won the long jump title, took silver in the triple jump, and was part of Nigeria’s winning 4×100 metres relay team. She also placed fourth individually in the 100 metres.

She told The Guardian at the end of the long jump event yesterday that self-determination and hard work propelled her to the final. Brume also spoke on her she waded away fear of facing top Americans and other world stars at the Rio Olympics.

“I said to myself that I could and I can do all things because our Lord has strengthened me. I have equally trained and worked hard for this day and I believe I will emerge victorious. It doesn’t matter who I’m competing with but instead I tap from their grace…”

Even before she came to limelight, Brume had picked Nigeria’s track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguenor as her role model. She always feels comfortable competing alongside Okagbare in the long jump because “I always draw inspirations from her.”

But yesterday in Rio, Okagbare was not in the long jump and Brume had to do it all alone. “I actually missed her (Okagbare), but it’s all good all the same.”

During her preparation for the Olympics Games, Brume declared in an interview with The Guardian saying: “The long jump is a very technical event and we are talking about the Olympics Games, where only the best athletes in the World will be on parade. Since I returned from IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco, I have been training so hard to meet the target, which I set for myself in the last quarters of 2014. Now in 2015, I have to continue from where I stopped. I am going to Rio to actualize my dream.”

With Brume’s inability to pick a medal yesterday, Nigeria’s search for a first 2016 Rio Olympics medal will continue.

Meanwhile, another Nigerian rising star on the track Divine Oduduru, could not qualify for the final of the 200m’s yesterday after coming seventh in the 2nd semi-final of the race. Oduduru posted a time of 20.59 seconds in the semi-finals and finished 21st overall among 24th athletes.

Jamaica’s speed star, Usain Bolt, 100m bronze medalist Andre De Grasse and Christophe Lemaitre qualified for the finals.

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