Young generation provide inspiration to break sporting boundaries

February 5, 2014 11:48 pm0 comments by:

Sochi 2014

We go through life meeting challenges. Our experiences shape our approach to subsequent encounters and thus break boundaries. There  is an impact in effort exerted with each obstacle depending on previous outcomes. It is however important to have a positive attitude regardless of outcome. In my view, this is the mind set that a number of young athletes  have towards winter Olympics. It is well known that snow does not fall in the Africa .

However, the young generation overcome obstacles to train in order to compete  and represent their country  in the  winter Olympics.
I hoped at the beginning of 2014 that a number of African countries make sporting headlines.
I was thinking of events like the winter Olympics that starts in Sochi, Russia on 7th February 2014.Luckily, we had a few African countries such as Algeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa to show the way.

This year, Morocco will be joined by Zimbabwe and Togo both competing for the first time. I am aware that these countries have at most 2 athletes competing in an event In addition; all of them seem to have qualified by virtue of parentage rather than birth.
Nevertheless, it is refreshing that the young generation continues to be inspired to break boundaries. We should also give kudos to the individual country for their insight for allowing them to compete. It is unfortunate about the South African teenager Sive Speelman, who qualified but was not allowed by the South African federation.

I will be supporting each one of the athletes competing in Sochi and follow their progress. This has leaded me into a crash course in the alpine ski event. All the entrants are competing mostly in this event. I have also made effort to look into understanding a few other events.
Firstly, I would give a brief profile about the 4 athletes representing the Africa continent in Sochi.

Morocco
The Moroccan team will include two skiers a male and one female. The female is Kenza Tazi 17 year’s old student. Following a fall in January 2013 in Ancelle, France, she underwent knee surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligament. She took up the sports after a going on ski holiday with her parents.

The second person is also a student Adam Lamhamedi, 18, who has recently made a name for himself in the world of skiing. Before joining the adult circuit, this Canadian-Moroccan from Quebec decided to ski for Morocco, the country of his father. In 2012, he caused became a sensation by winning the gold medal at the junior Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, becoming the first African to achieve such an honour. His little brother, Sami, 16 years old, is expected to follow in the footsteps of his elder sibling in 2018.

Togo
Two athletes will represent Togo in the country’s first trip to the Winter Olympics. Alessia Afi Dipol 18 qualified for the women’s slalom in alpine skiing. Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean 19 has qualified for the women’s 10km classical event in the cross-country skiing competition.

Zimbabwe
Luke Steyn the only entry from Zimbabwe at twenty will be competing in slalom and Giant slalom. He was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and moved to Switzerland at age two. His the only athlete competing for the African continent that was born in Africa and received financial support from IOC International Olympic Committee

Ten events make up the Olympic alpine skiing program, five for men and five for ladies. These include the downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super giant, and super combined races. Different courses are prepared for the different events. A total of ten sets of medals are awarded.
The downhill event features the longest courses and the highest speeds in alpine skiing; with athletes achieving speeds up to 120 km/h. Skiers cover the distance one at a time. The fastest skier wins the competition.
In the slalom, athletes must ski a course marked with flags and gates that are spaced much closer together than in the downhill event, giant slalom, or super giant slalom. In this competition, athletes must ski two courses, and the sum of their results makes up their total time.
In the giant slalom, the gates are placed farther apart than in the slalom, but not as far apart as in the super-G. Men’s races have 56 to 70 gates, while ladies’ have 46 to 58. The result is the sum of the skier’s times on two different courses.
The super giant (Super-G) incorporates aspects of both the downhill and the giant slalom. In the super giant, athletes achieve speeds just as high as in the downhill, but the course trajectory is similar to the course trajectory in the slalom. Athletes ski a course on which the gates are placed at about the same distance apart as in the giant slalom. Each skier gets only one attempt at the course.
The super combination incorporates aspects of both the downhill and the slalom. The downhill is sometimes replaced by the super giant.

I hope to engross myself in the winter Olympics and tweet about fun facts.
Apart from the alpine ski, I would keep an eye on a few interesting events such as  speed skating, snow boarding and Curling.

I hope the effort of these year’s young generation provide inspiration for others. In turn, more African countries send more representatives in the next winter Olympics in 2018.
In the meantime, let’s get inspired and support the athletes and wish them a wonderful experience in Sochi.

Obioma Aguocha
Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best (Paperback) 2007 & Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012

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