The battle for the inaugural All Africa Games titles in Maputo will be close, but for others the biggest win will be competing in Mozambique this weekend as the first step in an international triathlon career.
Both Aladdin and Gbagi were identified as by the Nigerian National Triathlon Federation, the Nigerian Triathlon Union, as talented swimmers with strong running ability who just needed to get more experience in cycling. They did this when they travelled to Johannesburg in South Africa to complete final fine tuning under the watchful eye of ITU coach and facilitator, Franz Studer. Studer has an ongoing relationship with the Nigerian Triathlon Federation after presenting a coaching course in the Lagos in 2009 and together he and wife Charmaine, who saw to their daily needs, took them to training venues and ensured that their nutritional needs were met - the two athletes completed an intense preparation for triathlon’s All Africa Games debut.
Sponsorship from a local gym, Virgin Active, allowed them to swim and do conditioning work along with daily cycle and run sessions, while they were fitted with bicycles, shoes and other specialist equipment. They also had their official race uniforms made, as these are not available in Nigeria, and had chiropractic treatment to keep them in top shape.
Studer praised both athletes for their hard work, and said they had the talent to make it in triathlon.
“These two fine young men definitely have the talent to ascend into the elite ranks as long as they can continue to get quality coaching and competitive opportunities,” he said. “The two fine young athletes are also a tribute to their National Federation and an absolute pleasure to work with throughout their stay.”
Studer will travel to Lagos again after the All Africa Games to continue the development work with an identified squad of athletes.
Triathlon makes its debut in the All Africa Games on Sunday September 4 in Maputo, for more details please click here.