They stood out among the crowd particularly their performance at the annual inter-house sports competition of International School, Lagos ( ISL ).
Despite representing different teams at the one-day athletics meet, their dreams seem to be at par with the aim of wearing the colours of Nigeria at major competitions.
The trio of Oluwademilade Ajayi, Zipporah Moses and Onah Ifunanya dazzled with their skills and they are set to storm the Nigerian athletics scene in few years.
Twelve-year-old Ajayi was outstanding in 100m, 200m and long jump events, while Ifunanya showed her class in the 100m and 200m. Taking a cue from Ajayi and Ifunanya, Moses – a quarter miller displayed an exceptional skills in the 400m, 800m and 1500m.
For Ajayi, athletics runs in the family as the teenager wanted to emulate his parents who were also sprinters in their school days. “I think sports has been part of our family because my grandfather and father were great athletes in their school days and so I have been getting the necessary support from them. They most times push me to be better than them. One of my dreams is to represent Nigeria at international tournaments and I have been fortunate to have a coach like Ijeoma Ernest who has been helping to hone my skills on the track,” the junior class student said.
Unlike Ajayi, who wanted to uphold family tradition, Ifunanya was prompted to take to athletics through her passion. “I am looking forward to compete for Nigeria at the Olympic Games because my passion for the sport has continued to inspire me to work harder. Also my parent and coach have been very supportive of my dream. Also my physical attribute in terms of my long leg is another advantage working in my favour,” 13-year-old Ifunanya said.
Having started athletics early in life, Moses has not stopped believing in herself even while at Staff School during his primary education. “I actually started running when I was in primary three and since then I have continued to work harder to ensure that I fulfill my dream,” she said.
The 15-year-old who idolizes American Natasha Hastings believes with her diligent, she can match the feat achieved by the American quarter miller.
However, the athletes lamented the lack of tournaments across the country for school athletes while calling on the leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to put things in place for athletes like them to showcase their talents for the national handlers.