Heading to the starting blocks for the fourth heat in the women's 400m on September 30, Favour Ofili couldn’t imagine that she had already played her part at the Doha 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
The 16 years and 273 days-old Nigerian is the youngest competitor in an individual event in Doha, nevertheless, she’s far from a newcomer in athletics.
Ofili is the reigning youth Olympic champion from Buenos Aries 2018 and topped the bill in the 400m final as well at the African Youth Games in the same year.
She also managed to represent her country at the All-African Games a month ago, where she finished second in the 400m and doubled her success anchoring the Nigerian team to the4x400m relay gold.
By lowering her personal best to 51.51 in Doha heats, Ofili booked her place for Tuesday’s semi-final.
“I’m really surprised to hear I’m the youngest competitor at the Doha Worlds. I was even suspired when I got the team for the event.
“I never care whether I am the youngest at acompetition even at the biggest one, because my coach was always with me. We have trained well.
“He always advises me to have fun and enjoy, not just my run, but also everything around. To see and to meet legends and big champions is a great experience for me.
“Shaunae Miller-Uibo is my idol in athletics. Watching hercompeting and training is my inspiration. Her achievementsmotivate me.
“I got ready for my Doha heat like it was the final. I have the potential to further improve my personal best and go faster in the next round. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to make the final, but I’ll do my best.
“I don’t know, who is the oldest competitor in Doha. Is it Gatlin? No? How old is he? 45? No? Even older? How is it possible?”.
(Source: Doha 2019 LOC)