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Track & Field 2k21: Echikunwoke takes gold in Nigeria

by Winners Only 3 months ago in culture

Cincinnati All-American heads to Olympics

Annette Echikunwoke

Above photo by @dabossphoto - Follow on Instagram

Annette Echikunwoke has gone from All-American collegiate thrower to Nigerian national champion.

On June 19, Annette Echikuwoke won the hammer throw at the Nigerian national championship. The former thrower at the University of Cincinnati took some time out of her schedule, as she prepares for the Olympics, to talk about her experience as the new Nigerian champ.

Winners Only: First off congratulations on becoming a national champ in Nigeria and qualifying for the Olympics. You have won a lot over your career but is this your greatest athletic achievement thus far?

Annette Echikuwoke: Thank you and, I believe this is a huge achievement, one that I’m extremely grateful for and I think it serves as a stepping stone to the greater achievements to come!

Ok so just for clarity, you were born and raised in Ohio and are first generation American as well right?

Correct.

Tell us about Nigerian culture when it comes to athletics. I know soccer, track and field and basketball are big there. What is different when you are competing amongst your Nigerian peers as opposed to the competition here in the states?

There’s definitely more of an emphasis on the track portion in Nigeria, but even then, they have some solid competitors that are Nigerian-based in the field events.

So much attention is given to the runners in your sport. Take the moment to tell us the best aspects of throwing. Let us know what we are missing out on. Also did you ever run and if so what was your favorite event?

I did run and competed in the 200m dash, but only for a short time in the 8th grade. I was actually pretty fast, but I knew from the jump I wanted to a be a thrower. I think what makes throwing comps great is that you have more than one chance to get the best mark you can. As the athletes compete, you can go on a mini journey with them and cheer them on in the process. Personally, I think it’s exciting to watch.

Times are changing for the better when it comes to women in sports. What does it mean to you to represent the strength of a woman on a worldwide level? Even better you're representing the strength of an African woman. Just share your thoughts on that.

It’s amazing. Women are powerhouses when it comes to sports and have such rich stories when it comes to perseverance and excellence in sport. I’m happy to contribute to that. To be a representation of the strength of women is a blessing and I hope I continue to do that.

Lastly you're representing a bunch of people in these games. Nigeria, University of Cincinnati, the state of Ohio. You are showing a lot of people that success is possible. Do you have anything you can share about what it took for you to make it to this stage and what it takes for you to continue.

Yes. Every step of the way, it took me believing that success was possible and being prepared for that success. So for me, I train just about every day throughout the week and I believe that my consistent training will yield the result I’m hoping for. This is something I will continue to do.

My belief is that as long as I believe in myself, there’s nothing I can’t do. But above all that, what’s ultimately brought me to this point is God. I believe He has me here for a reason. Frankly, I didn’t want to continue track after college, but God softened my heart to do so, and I think there’s a reason for that. So I give all the glory to Him for my success because without Him this would be in vain.

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