Winner of two medals for Team Delta in the Para-table-tennis event of the just concluded 18th National Sports Festival, tagged ‘Eko 2012′, Endurance Obi explains why athletes dumped Lagos State for other states
You erupted in joy after clinching gold?
Yes I’m very elated because it wasn’t a small achievement to clinch two medals in any event, be it local or international.
It seems your Team Rivers opponent, Eno Azukwo was a nemesis to you?
She has been my nemesis for a very long time, she had denied me the opportunity of clinching medals in a number of events, especially at the National Sports Festival. She did it in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles, and she has been defeating me, so it was a sweet revenge for me.
You came from one set down to win 2-1, (5-11, 3-11 and 9-11), what’s running through your mind?
At first I thought I won’t be able to defeat her but I believed in myself and the fans stood by me, spurring me to go all out for gold and I’m glad that I won.
With the medals and the monetary reward attached to it, that means you would be smiling to the bank?
Definitely I would be because it is not my making but hard work and prayers. I also want to thank the government of Delta State for throwing their weight behind my quest and ensuring I won the medals.
Apart from sports, what other things do you do?
I’m a 200 Level undergraduate of the University of Lagos studying Business Administrations so whenever I don’t have lectures I go out to train with some of my friends.
You school and train in Lagos, why did you and some other athletes choose to represent other states instead of Lagos State?
Lagos can’t pay our bill, some other states employ athletes and pay them as at when due. Even some states took their athletes on training tours, which Lagos didn’t do this year, and it showed from their overall performance.
Are you saying if Lagos had lured you with monetary incentives, you would have represented the state?
That is an issue for another day, but for now, I remain a Team Delta athlete because the state pay my bills and give me what I need at the right time.
How will you rate the festival this year?
The competition was very tough because every athlete wanted to win a medal for his or her state, so you can imagine how competitive it was.
What is the next line of action for you now?
It is to represent and win medals for Nigeria in the near future and I know when the time comes nobody would stop me.