Ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Spain-based Nigerian jumper Samson Idiata says he's happy to be back and better after earning a spot on the Nigerian team to Glasgow 2014. In this exclusive interview with AthleticsAfrica’s Tunde Eludini, Idiata said he is happy to be back and better.
AA: It’s been a while we have seen you compete, especially here in Nigeria, where have you been?
Idiata: I have been in Europe and I have been beset with injury problems but this year has been very good for me and I came to compete in my country.
AA: Did you miss competing for Nigeria?
Idiata: I will say I miss Nigeria so much, it’s been great to see my family after a long while. Also everybody knows me as a high jumper but seeing me in long jumping really surprised a lot of people. I was so happy I was able to jump very well and even win
AA: So far so good, how has the year been for you?
Idiata: In 2014, I have only participated in two competitions, my club race in the last two months and a jump in my state Valencia. Right now I am here in Nigeria for the Golden League and the national trials.
This year I believe I will do better than last year I took a challenge upon myself this because everybody thought all hope was lost because I have been laid off for the past 10 months through injury. And it drained my finances. I hope that I would be able to recoup what I had lost in the time I was nursing myself back to health. I am happy I am back again for real.
AA: Back to your decision to switch from High Jump which your family is best known for to long jump, do you still you made the right decision?
Idiata: Yes it is a good decision for me to switch events. You are correct that high jump runs in the family, my elder brother is a high jumper, he holds the national record of 2.32m and I thought I could step into his shoes but after four years it seems I was not doing really well. However, when Yusuf Ali discovered me in Long Jump, I started doing well in the world rankings, I am an 8 metres jumper, I am working to be among the best in the world.
AA: Ambitions for Commonwealth Games?
Idiata: Yes, I really want to represent Nigeria at the games because that is the priority as an athlete to represent your country at any competition. Your country has to discover you before you get world recognition. So I believe it would be the right platform to make it to the bigger stage.
AA: Any challenges as you set out to achieve you goals?
Idiata: We don’t have very good support in this country. Right now as a potential athlete, I need the support of government. The government cannot do it all, like myself I am a model, if its just to get me one of these modelling contracts and that way I can be self-sustaining and improve myself also. When you invest on yourself, you get the best. I pay bills.
AA: Thank you for speaking with us
Idiata: The pleasure was mine.