ATHLETICS: Joy Udo-Gabriel Toughens Up Training Ahead of New Season (AUDIO)

Every once in a while, a transcendent talent announces itself with such force that one cannot help but take notice and young athletics star Joy Udo-Gabriel certainly qualifies as one such talent.

Since being discovered as a sixteen year old by athletics club Making of Champions (MoC) in 2015, Udo-Gabriel who turns 20 later this year in June has in the intervening years, recorded remarkable achievements on the tracks none so much as in 2018, where she won an astonishing 11 medals including a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and bronze and gold medals at the African Championships in Asaba.

Reflecting on how far she’s been able to come in so short a time, Udo-Gabriel who was present for the official kit unveiling ceremony by MoC at the Teslim Balogun Stadium told that her athletics journey has been a surreal experience and that she never expected to have hit the heights she’s attained in her professional career in so short a time.

“I never imagined that I would get to this point because three years back if you had asked me if I would be at the Commonwealth Games I would bluntly say no to you because I didn’t see myself being here today and so three years of my life has been very wonderful and amazing. It has been awesome. I give all the glory to God because it is by his grace that I have come this far so it’s been really good.”

With huge success comes even bigger responsibilities and with all eyes on her as the 2019 athletics season kicks off, Udo-Gabriel who combines her career with undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos knows she will be the target of many on the tracks.

She’s already had a taste of the level of competition she is likely to come up against this season when at the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja, despite being the heavy favourite, she could only finish in third place with the unheralded Bukola Margaret Boluwatife taking gold in the women’s 100m.

With that experience at the back of her mind, Udo-Gabriel says she will work even harder to surpass last year’s achievements and ensure she cements a place on the teams to compete at the World Championships and the All African Games later this year.

“When you put in the work you get the result and I am putting in more than enough work so that I can get the kind of result I want this 2019.

“I have started my build up already and hopefully I hope to make all the teams this year with my training I’m putting in so much effort and so my hard work. My coach also is trying so I think I should be able to do very well and make all the teams.”