Fast-rising female sprinter, Joy Udo-Gabriel has come out with a deep confession that she could not win a gold medal at the National Sports Festival simply because she was tensed up during the competition.
Udo-Gabriel admitted that great expectations were on her, considering her exploits at the Commonwealth Games and African Senior Athletics Championship, but added those were what put pressure on her in Abuja.
The 19-year-old athlete, who was voted Nigeria’s most promising track and field talent of the past year, could only settle for bronze at The Unity Games 2018.
However, after admitting she felt hurt to fall short, Udo-Gabriel, who represented Delta State in the FCT Games, now hopes to build on her gains of 2018, by enacting better performances in the 2019 season.
In 2018, she won 11 medals, being five gold, three silver and three bronze, while also enacting the fastest time by a Nigerian athlete in the women’s 100m of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
However, her first senior medal for Nigeria was bronze, which she got at the 2018 African championship in Asaba, where Udo-Gabriel was excited to run alongside Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who won gold.
Udo-Gabriel recounted: “It was awesome sharing same podium with Marie and would cherish it again and it was a good experience for me.
“My most challenging race was the National Sports Festival; because I raced right in front of persons who were hoping to see me win the race.”