Bayelsa swimmer Ifiaezibe Gagbe was the star of the Edo 2020 Nationwide Sports activities Pageant, profitable 15 medals. On this interview with EBENEZER BAJELA, she opens up on her private life, the journey to stardom, her want to turn out to be an Olympian and extra
You gained 15 medals on the current Nationwide Sports activities Pageant. What’s the key?
The key is God and onerous work. I skilled very onerous and when you understand what you’re going for, you keep focus and also you struggle for it. To be candid with you, there’s nothing extra to my success than coaching.
Profitable eight gold medals is a tremendous feat. How do you’re feeling?
I really feel so joyful and it’s like I’m the one one which got here for the competitors. Phrases can’t really describe the way in which I really feel.
What’s in your thoughts after your 15-medal feat?
It’s all in regards to the cash as a result of the final Governor of Bayelsa State paid N1m for a gold medal. The present Governor has not informed us what he can pay, however he informed us we must always go to Benin Metropolis, win gold and see what he’ll reward us with. I do know it will likely be higher than the final one and I’m already serious about the cash. It’s the cash that made me put in a lot effort and what which means is that I’m N8m richer, excluding the silver and bronze medals.
When did you begin swimming?
I grew up by the riverside, so I can say I began swimming as a baby however professionally it was in 2002. That was after I additionally participated within the age group competitors in Ilorin. I used to be 12 years previous then.
How have you ever been capable of mix swimming and schooling?
I’m writing my venture in the meanwhile, which implies that I’ve sufficient time to coach very effectively and nonetheless come again to class to learn. However the reality is that it’s very onerous to mix each as a result of there are occasions after I tried to open my books and browse, however I begin sleeping. After I get up I’ve pains throughout my physique from the coaching, however I simply need to handle and browse as a result of that can be necessary to my profession. Swimming is one thing I take pleasure in doing and I can’t return on it and we’re seeing the outcome already.
Going again to highschool now, how do you hope to handle the success at Edo 2020?
This isn’t my first time going to competitions, though this one is totally different. I used to be on the West Africa College Video games and different competitions prior to now. What I do is keep again at house and chill out for one week after each main event, and attempt to keep calm till every little thing settles down earlier than popping out.
Do you’ve a boyfriend?
No, I don’t have a boyfriend in the meanwhile, however I used to be as soon as married. That was in 2015 however we divorced in 2018. I went to the Abuja 2018 Nationwide Sports activities Pageant with that trauma as a result of he didn’t need me to return to my sport. I had a child and my weight was an excessive amount of for me to return to swimming and I struggled. He was towards me swimming once more, however I went again to doing it and we had some points after that, which led to our divorce. I went to the 2018 competition with quite a lot of trauma and I gained 14 silver medals, I didn’t win any gold. I used to be so indignant as a result of I’m a golden woman. So, this time, with my thoughts settled, I got here to Edo and have become the golden woman that I’m.
Did the problems you had together with your ex-husband have something to do together with your sporting profession?
It had nothing to do with my profession. I’m a employee within the Bayelsa State Sports activities Council and at the moment, I wasn’t pondering of returning to swimming as a result of I weighed 90kg then and no person believed that I might have the ability to return to swimming due to my child. He (ex-husband) requested me to go for a training course, which I did. He supported my profession however our divorce was on account of different points which weren’t associated to my sporting profession.
How a lot time do you’ve in your baby, realizing that you simply work, go to highschool and compete as an athlete?
My daughter is 4 years now and I do make out time for her. I choose her up from college. Typically, she involves coaching with me. We’re often collectively and she or he loves water too. Many occasions she’s going to beg me to go and swim and generally I’ve to inform her to attend until the following day.
So, how quickly are we going to see her swim at nationwide stage?
You’ll positively be seeing one other brightness within the nearest future. Brightness is her identify and she or he will certainly swim as a result of she loves it a lot. She at all times desires to remain within the water all day however I’ve to make sure she does her assignments.
Understanding that you’re single, quite a lot of guys may be wooing you. How are you managing this?
I truthfully don’t know, however I do know I’ve to quiet down once more as a result of I want one other child. Possibly after I see a man who seems accountable I’ll give it a thought as a result of there isn’t a hurt in attempting.
How simple has it been staying alone with no man?
I have to confess it has not been simple, however I attempted to not get too anxious as a result of I like swimming. Each time I’ve one thing troubling my thoughts, I simply dive contained in the water and begin swimming to ease my pains. After I see that I’m doing effectively in coaching, it offers me pleasure as a result of I do know that I’ve hope tomorrow. That’s what really retains me going.
There may be this extensively held perception that intercourse impacts the performances of athletes. Isn’t having a person a plus for you when it comes to your performances?
Being with no man and never having intercourse has helped me so much, however generally it’s not due to intercourse that athletes don’t carry out. It has to do with how onerous they prepare as a result of that’s the key to each success in life. When you’ve intercourse and also you prepare onerous, you’ll be able to nonetheless carry out at your finest however every little thing nonetheless must be finished moderately.
Having a look at your achievement, how would you describe the journey to this point?
I’m somebody who doesn’t settle for defeat. If I’m going for a contest and I don’t prepare, I gained’t trouble competing. In case you see me in any competitors, know that I’m coming for one thing critical. So, I might say that the journey has been good.
They are saying all that glitters will not be gold. What are a few of the challenges you’ve encountered as an athlete?
The primary problem I’ve is that authorities will not be encouraging swimming within the nation. There was no competitors for swimmers within the final one yr earlier than the sports activities competition. The final competitors we had was in 2016, the Chief of Naval Workers occasion. That was the one competitors we had, however since they stopped it in 2016, all we have now now could be the sports activities competition. Typically, we prepare and don’t even know the place we’re going to. The challenges are a lot, it’s worthwhile to see the swimming pools in my state, they’re very dangerous and even to get cash to purchase chemical to deal with the swimming pools for us to coach is an enormous downside. The water is inexperienced, however we nonetheless put our heads inside as a result of we all know what we’re going for.
What do you assume is the way in which ahead?
Good administration and help from the federal government is the way in which ahead. We’d like them to encourage the athletes, it doesn’t matter what. It doesn’t matter whether or not we win on the competition or not, we have to be inspired. For the athletes that didn’t win any medal on the competition, they want help as a result of in the event that they don’t get that now, how do you count on them to carry out higher within the coming occasions?
What’s your subsequent plan after your sports activities competition feat?
My subsequent goal and dream is to compete on the Olympic Video games as a result of I’ve not been there. At the least let my identify Ifiaezibe Gagbe have the title of an Olympian. I see that occuring very quickly by the grace of God.
All rights reserved. This materials, and different digital content material on this web site, might not be reproduced, revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in complete or partly with out prior categorical written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]