Making of Champions Track Club athlete, Jerry Jakpa, says his target is to compete in the African Games and win medals while also achieving a final place finish at the World Championships.
2018 wasn’t too good for you as an athlete; what’s your target for 2019 as the outdoor season takes centre stage?
Personally I feel there is so much work to do, especially with my trainings. Personally, I feel I haven't hit my mark, so I need to keep trying and surely the results will come.
I will say this year is a make or break one for me, I will have to get the confidence to go out and compete with the big guys if truly I want to get anything out of the Olympics year.
I just want to keep the focus and try to make it to both the African Games and the World Championships.
Two major championships this year before Olympic Games in 2020, what are you targeting at the All African Games and World Championships?
The first thing is for me to stay healthy because you cannot run when you are not in good physical condition.
I will also take it one step at a time; work with my coach and try as much as possible to make the mark for the two championships, while also working harder so as to go there and give a good account of myself.
I am looking forward to a medal at the African Games and possibly a final at the World Championships.
I will say this year is a make or break one for me, I will have to get the confidence to go out and compete with the big guys if truly I want to get anything out of the Olympics year
For now you are combining both the 100m and 200m, are you thinking of focusing on one or to continue with both this year?
I love both events although there are times I will say to myself that I love 100m and another time the 200m, but I am still work in progress.
I know where I am lacking in both and I am working really hard to make up and hit the mark needed of me.
With three months gone in the year, can you say your coaches have done enough to prepare you for the battle ahead, especially the Olympics in 2020?
It's been a good ride working with the coaches at Making of Champions Track Club. I joined the club with a Personal Best of 10.85secs, but now I am running a 10.2secs and that came within two to three years.
So, if I could achieve that, definitely before the Olympics, I should be looking up to running time that can get to the finals. Everything about the MoC has been geared towards the Olympic in 2020.
That's also the goal for me as an athlete; to be able to make a mark at the Games and also write my name in the Nigerian history.
I can boldly say my coach has done a lot, especially Coach Deji Aliu, who has done a lot to get me to where I am at the moment.
2018 was a rough year for me, with injury and other things that hindered my progress, but it was great the way he was able to handle it and the way I was able to return to action.
Towards the National Sports Festival, I was sick, but I was able to return and gave a good account of myself.
How have you been able to combine education and your career as an athlete?
It is not easy especially within the Nigerian setting. As an athlete, there are times you have to be absent from class due to training or competitions.
However, I have been able to manage it through the help of God and the encouragement I have received from my dad as well as my coach.
Sometimes when I miss training due to classes, they both made time for me on weekends to catch up with I missed during the week. My sponsors are also there to support me always, likewise my team mates.