Africa’s female 200 metres record-holder Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor says her career is not built on fans’ expectations, ahead of the CAA Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who broke the 22-year-old 200m African record with a 22.04 seconds finish in March, said on Tuesday in Asaba she would be at her best at the event.
Asked about her expectations at the competition, she was non-commital.
“I don’t answer questions about expectations. I have expectations but people have expectations of me, but I am sorry I am not running for anyone.
“This is my career and I come first, regardless of what anybody thinks. No one knows how you train, yet they want you to fulfil their own expectations of you.
“Everyone goes on the line and expect to win. You don’t underestimate anybody and you don’t care about who is on the track with you. You just compete.
“If I choose to get on the tracks, it means I want to run to win. It is the same for everybody, even those who have not prepared well,’’ the African Championships’ 100m gold medallist at Marrakesh 2014 said.
The 29-year-old also said she doesn’t really feel anything different competing on home soil.
“It is beautiful here because you can have your family and fans watch you, rather than via a television set.
“For me though, it is not really a different feeling because regardless of where you are, a competition is a competition.
“It is the same feeling for me when I go to other countries to race and that is the feeling of sports,’’ she added.
The athlete also lauded the state government over the newly-completed Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the championship, saying it meets international standards.
The CAA championships, which is the biggest athletics event on the continent, begins from Wednesday and will end on Sunday.