Being an athlete in Africa
Being an athlete in Africa bears numerous challenges.
One of the main problems is the stadiums’ poor infrastructure including inadequate sanitary facilities. Proper tracks are the absolute exception.
In Kenya, for instance, there is only one stadium with a tartan track. As a result, many athletes only practice on cinder tracks, which are often in extremely bad condition.
However, there are much bigger challenges for African athletes:
The average monthly income in Nigeria is only about 50 €, which is barely enough for most athletes to make a living. Due to high costs of transportation, the majority of athletes cannot afford to travel to their regular training sites. Athletes frequently travel for several hours on foot to their practice locations. Furthermore, staying with their male coaches might be a problem especially for female athletes since this often leads to cases of both sexual and psychological abuse.
In addition, athletes usually don’t get necessary treatments such as physical therapy. Most athletes do not have the possibility to use weight rooms, and even if so, the equipment is poor. Besides, athletes receive insufficient basic care. Many of them neither have regular meals during the day nor have access to sanitary facilities.
Traveling to competitions is another major issue. Many athletes do not have the financial resources to participate in competitions. Moreover, many of these competitions are manually measured and therefore are not officially accepted.
Despite all these disadvantages, athletes nevertheless perform extremely well. This is why we give them any necessary support so they can reach their full potential.
Joy Udo Gabriel
1x Commonwealth Games winner
4th place with the Nigerian relay team at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene
“We do not get many opportunities like this, and we really appreciate that you guys came here for us. You also see how we are doing, and you get us over there, which we really appreciate because as I said, we don’t get opportunities like this all the time.”
“[The Americans] have very good facilities, they have good coaches, they have great teams. In Nigeria we try, but it is not as much as they have in the US. They are very knowledgeable about the sports.”