Making of Champions (MoC) Track Club is making history, having just recruited multi-talented Ifeanyi Christian who will be unveiled as the club’s first Para-athlete at a Press Conference in Lagos on March 5th, 2019!
Despite his status as a Para-athlete, Christian has never considered it a daunting task competing with able bodied athletes and this has now worked to his favour, considering that MoC had been keeping tabs on his progress since 2017, having watched him compete at an All-Comers meet held at Yabatech in June of that year.
Christian currently holds the enviable position of being Nigeria’s best athlete in the T46 100m, 200m and 400m categories. Athletes in the T46 category have a single below or above the elbow amputation.
Christian virtually dominated all three sprint events during the 2018 Commonwealth Games Trials held in Abuja. Unfortunately, he was not selected on the team to the Games held in Gold Coast, Australia.
He was also in action at the 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF) in Abuja where he stormed to GOLD for Akwa Ibom in the T46 200m – an upgrade from the Silver he won at Eko 2012!
Christian’s efforts in the past two years haven’t gone unnoticed by MoC as the club has now officially snapped him up, and he will be looking forward to thriving and attaining the peak of his career with the support of the club.
This is a dream come true for Imo State indigene whose first passion was Football, and even played as a goal keeper while in primary school. He tells us a bit about his experience:
“I wasn’t born with a disability. I had an accident when I was 10 so I lost a lot of time while I was on the sick bed. In primary school, I was a very good footballer; I was a goalkeeper, so after I had the accident, I thought that was the end of my involvement in sports. I still miss Football sometimes because I know where I would have gotten to, since I was a very good player”, he said.
Christian’s love for Sports didn’t wane even after losing an arm. He moved into Athletics while in secondary school in Port Harcourt and even became the Sports Prefect of his school, underlining his talent and prospects in the sport.
He said, “I love Athletics and I love Sports. I developed the interest in Athletics in secondary school while racing in inter-school competitions. I have a passion for it, so I was made the Sports Prefect.
“I didn’t know there was a category for physically-challenged athletes at the time because I was always running with my able bodied counterparts and usually finished 2nd. It was when I came out of secondary school that I knew that there was Para-athletics.”
Christian’s sojourn into Para-athletics was totally unplanned. Having just completed his secondary school education and was planning to apply to the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State for his tertiary education, so he travelled to Uyo to get a glimpse of the university. While visiting his aunt at her shop in Uyo, a friend of hers saw his potential and introduced him to a coach.
He said, “I went to visit my aunt at her shop when this lady (Idongesit Asuquo Daniel) saw me and called me. She told me I was a star and a champion. She asked me if I could run. I told her I could, so she introduced me to a coach immediately. I believe that meeting was just by divine arrangement because she hadn’t even watched me run before, but somehow she just saw the potential in me. That was the moment I started out professionally”.
All of these happened just two months to the 2012 National Sports Festival. The coach got Christian into the Akwa Ibom team and he joined the rest of the athletes in camp, competing with his bare feet in the build up to Eko 2012. He got to use a pair of spikes for the first time at the festival, and was able to give a good account of himself at the competition:
“A lot of people didn’t think that someone that had only trained for two months would be able to win a medal, but I ended up winning Silver in the 200m”, he said.
Christian hopes to improve in all three events and to make a name for himself and the country as the opportunities arise.
He said, “My dream is very big. I hope to win GOLD in international competitions like the Paralympics, World Championships, Grand Prix, and to make Nigeria and my family proud. I feel everything is possible so I feel what others can do, I can do much better. I don’t see any disabilities.”