Nijel’s Letter from America
Silver star Nijel’ Amos’ running career is again shining brightly.
Whilst some labeled him a problem child and believed that the newly rich teenage celebrity had given up on athletics to be a DJ, the Olympic medalist is back on track. He proved that he is no ‘one-race wonder’ by beating a top-class 800m field in the third stop of the IAAF’s Diamond League tour in Oregon USA last weekend in an impressive time of 1:43:63.
Botswana’s most famous runner alongside Amantle Montsho took time off from his World Tour to talk exclusively to his favourite newspaper about his experience in the land of the land of the Star-Spangled Banner and beyond.
“It is very exciting here in Oregon USA. People are extra friendly and in just a day upon my arrival they made me feel at home. The love of sport they have is so amazing – there were over 13,000 at the meeting last week.
I had a few days prior to my race to get to know the place and went shopping with Amantle – there are some awesome stores this side and we had a lot of fun.
But I haven’t been running wild – at least not off the track because every time there is a competition there is always someone from my management team to take care of me. I also have my friend Amantle, who is more like a big sister, to hang out with.
Nike is my technical sponsor so when I arrived here they gave me an opportunity to go to their factory and take anything I wanted. It was like getting a lifetime of Christmas presents at once. I got some great running shoes and some fancy stuff for someone close to my heart. Lol! Just kidding – anyway you can check out the picture.
There was no time for nightlife as I was sleeping at 21:30pm which in Botswana time will be half 6 in the morning.
Diamond league is where the world’s best athletes compete so I got the invitation since I am one of the best 800m runners in the world – believe it or not!!
As for the logistics my sponsor Nike hosts me in the USA and the Botswana National Olympic Committee cover all my costs with my manager Rosa Federico from Italy.
I communicate with my coach Jean Vester in South Africa through facebook, twitter and watsup everyday. I give him feedback after every training session. He cannot travel with me due to work commitments but when he is free he always come along.
My training has been hectic since I came back from injury. Sometimes I take a break to avoid re-injury. I have not yet fully recovered and sometimes feel the pain especially when it is cold.
But wining against Rudisha who beat me to the gold in the Olympics made all the pain worthwhile. This is a guy who has been my idol. I learnt a lot since I watched videos of him on YouTube when I started to run 800m. After the Olympics I said to myself that one day I would beat him – and last week I proved it to myself and to the world.
Naturally I was happy to have won the pre 2014 Diamond race. The league is about collecting points and the winner is the one who will be having more points at the end of 13 races. This year I am not chasing points but taking things slowly. As I said I want to be completely healed next year and run in the World Championship.
I am studying at University in South Africa where sport is just on the same level with education and all is taken seriously. So during the European season we are allowed to come and compete, which means three months away from class. We submit assignments and get some work to do online. When we come back it will be exams time.
I am not the only athlete from my university who came for these competitions – we are about eight from North West University.
I am one person who is always willing to try new things in life, so I was excited when a friend asked me to play a round of golf with him. It gave me time to relax my mind not thinking about books, running or anything. That is how I spent a lot of my time after the competition – playing a round not playing around!
From here I am flying to Rome for a medical checkup then I will be heading to Nigeria where I am going to meet the 4X4 relay team Botswana and compete for Commonwealth Games qualifiers.
I am enjoying my life on and off the track as I always have done. Although I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, the win last week may silence some of my critics (at least for a while) – especially those who thought I was just wanted to be a DJ and crash expensive cars!
All I want is to repay those who believe in me. Those people who were busy criticizing don’t know me. When I was in the limelight they just created an image of me that matched what they wanted to judge me by.
That’s did not affect me at all. It was just like hearing boring music from a neighbour – you cannot ask him to switch his radio off, so you just ignore it.
I am a strong person so I always have my head up. I leave everything to the Almighty – there is no better guide!”
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