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Friday, 02 August 2013 18:19
by GOWON AKPODONOR
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.Promising star, Netherlands-based young decathlete, Ituah Enahoro, has a Nigerian father and a German mother. The lad, who relocated with his mother from Germany to Netherland in 2007, is currently placed under a European coach, Hidde Egbers, a specialist in decathlon. His excellence in track and field has made the young Enahoro the target of many European countries, but he says his heart and loyalty is for his fatherland, Nigeria. Speaking with GOWON AKPODONOR at the recently concluded IAAF World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine, Enahoro talked about his dream of becoming a world champion like Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, beginning with the 2014 World Youth Championship in Oregon, USA and the Youth Olympic Games also next year in China. He also spoke on why he is pitching his tent with Nigeria when many European countries are dangling carrots around him.
BEFORE he appeared in the colours of Team Nigeria at the recently concluded IAAF World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine, his story was everywhere. Multi-talented 15-year-old Ituah Enahoro has been the target of several European countries, including Belgium, since he came into limelight in athletics two years ago.
At the Olympics Stadium in Donetsk, venue of the 8th IAAF World Youth Championship, the young Enahoro was the cynosure of all eyes. His physic and performance in training made him one of the most sought-after young athletes by coaches, who were in Ukraine to scout for talents for their countries.
“I came to Donetsk to participate in the game and not to compete. I hope to win my first medal for Nigeria next year in China,” Enahoro told The Guardian at the media Tribune of the Olympics Stadium in Donetsk.
The young lad is building on the sports foundation already laid by his father, Mike Simeon Enahoro from the famous Enahoro family in Edo State. Mike played football with the Hawks of Makurdi in Nigeria’s lower league before relocating abroad for study some years ago. He also played collegiate in Mexico, Cyprus and non-league in Belgium. Mike became the youngest America Soccer Federation A License coach in 1996.
His son (Ituah Enahoro) has heard some wonderful stories about Nigeria, including how their big daddy, the late nationalist, Anthony Enehoro, raised the bold motion for the country’s independence in 1953.
The young lad has equally been told stories of how Nigeria shocked the world at Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games in USA, where Chioma Ajunwa’s golden moment in the long jump event was followed by the football team’s success over such great nations as Brazil and Argentina.
“I had also heard stories about mosquitoes and malaria fever in Africa,” he told The Guardian during the interview in Ukraine. “But I am always thrilled by the track record of Nigeria in sports and I have been looking forward to a day when I will wear the colours of Nigeria,” he said.
At a time in Nigerian sports, it became a fashion for athletes to seek the proverbial greener pasture by moving to environments where they could flourish and make better living. Some Nigerian athletes like Gloria Alozie, Francis Obikwelu and Olusoji Fasuba have dumped the country at different times to pick citizenship in other countries.
The young Enahoro will have nothing to do with such idea of donning the colours of another country to compete against his fatherland. He started his sporting career as a footballer shortly after his mother moved from Germany to the Netherlands in 2007.
According to the young lad, his father and mum met some years ago when the woman visited Nigeria as a tourist.
After a short stay in Netherlands, mother and son moved to the city of Aruba, a former Dutch colony inland near Cuba. Here, the young lad developed his interest in athletics in the middle of 2008. He became a specialist in decathlon, competing in the sprint, long jump, high jump and the pole Vaulte.
In the middle of 2010, they moved back to the Netherlands and settled in a municipal town called Apeldoorn, a city in the province of Gelderland, about 60 miles/100 Kilometres south east of Amsterdam.
Recalling the genesis of his athletics career with The Guardian, Enahoro said: “When we relocated to the Netherlands, I decided to make enquiries about clubs where I could perfect my athletics career.”
Enahoro’s search for a club yielded the desired fruits soon after, as he relishes his experience in the city of Apeldoorn: “I was so fortunate to get a club nearby. It is called Club AV 34, which is named after the city of Apeldoorn.”
The Nigerian joined Club AV 34 in 2011 and was immediately placed under the supervision of coach Hidde Egbers, a specialist known in most parts of Europe in decathlon. Coach Egbers, who is one of the trainers in Club AV 34, accompanied Enahoro to Donetsk for the recently concluded IAAF Word Youth Championship in Ukraine.
During the Dutch national athletics trials for the world junior athletics championships, Enahoro was invited to compete in the A1 category. He finished the day with 3.52m in the Pole Vault.
“Ituah is a talented young man and I am very sure Nigeria will reap from whatever investment on him,” Coach Egbers told The Guardian in Donetsk shortly before their departure to Netherland. “I am saying this because I have worked with him for sometime now and I should be in a better position to talk about him. He is very good in the sprint, long jump, high jump and the pole . That is why many countries want to have him, but I am happy Ituah is sticking to his fatherland.”
Before the IAAF World Youth Championship in Ukraine, the 15-year old Enahoro competed at the Dutch U-18 Athletics Championship, where he improved his personal best to 7.50 seconds in 60 meters. “I am looking forward to improving on my personal best, improving on my racing and hope that in a short while, I will be able to make the world crawl at my feats,” he said. “My dream is to rule the world like Usain Bolt of Jamaica and I am working towards it.”
Now that he has registered his name as a Nigerian athlete, Enahoro’s main focus is to go for the medals, beginning with the World Junior Championships in Oregon, USA next year. “From Oregon, I hope to win a gold medal for Nigeria at the Youth Olympics in China in 2014. Who knows? I may just be one of the athletes that will do Nigeria proud at Rio 2016 Olympics,” he added.
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