AMATA'S FEAT IN GERMANY THRILLS AFN
THE Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is in jubilation mood at the moment following the feat of African high jump queen, Doreen Amata-Igbokwe at the 33rd Eberstadt High Jump Meet in Germany at the weekend.
The 2007 All Africa Games high jump champion at the European athletics outdoor permit meet on Saturday equalled the 1.95m national record she set at the Mobil Championships in Abuja in 2008. At the moment, Amata is the third best jumper in the event on global ranking.
'We are really excited by Doreen's feat in Germany. We have no doubt she has the capacity to even do more for herself and the country,'observed Chief Solomon Ogba, the president of the AFN yesterday.
While congratulating the African champion, Ogba, a former Delta State sports commissioner wants Amata to remain focus and not allow the feat to get into her head as the country prepares for both the All Africa Games in September and the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August.
'Having equalled her national record and emerged the best in Africa, there is no doubt that Doreen is capable of retaining the All Africa Games women high jump gold medal in Maputo, Mozambique as well as also make the podium at the World Championships in Daegu,'stressed the AFN chief.
Interestingly, Amata who returned to the field early this year after taking time out for procreation last year had promised to chase the 2m mark no female Nigerian jumper has ever made. After starting her season with the All Comers event in Shaganu where she managed 1.83m, Amata refocus-sed her programme, and missed most of the AFN Golden League.
Her sojourn in Italy, appears to have paid off maximally with the brilliant for she put up at the Eberstadt Meet.
Shortly after failing to jump the 1.97m mark after the third attempt, Amata was contented with the precious bronze behind world leader, Russian Shkolina Svetlana (1.99m) and Vlasic Blanka (1.97m) of Croatia.
'I am really delighted that everything is coming into place for me. I have been training very hard and i believe i will join the league of 2m jumpers very soon,'an excited Amata gushed in a chat with Africa Athle-tics.com from her base in Italy.
'I believe in my ability and i am definite this year will be the year i will break that barrier. It is top of my wish-list for the year and God is already showing me the signs,'she revealed.
While losing sight of her primary target of retaining the All Africa Games gold medal in the event, Amata is equally dreaming of making the finals of the women high jump event in Daegue. 'I am focussed on my goals for this year.
I believe I have comeback stronger from childbirth and have nothing to distract me anymore,' concludes the proud mother of a baby boy.