24-year-old Uche Eke has made history by becoming the first Nigerian gymnast at the Olympics since 1952 when the country started participating in Olympics.
In view of his qualification for Tokyo Olympics, the Olympic medal hopeful in an interview with newsmen, said he has reached his ultimate athletic training goal.
“I dream about raising my hand, saluting, getting ready to perform my routines. I dream of walking out on the main stage with the Nigerian colors. Too bad there won’t be any fans there to raise the flag. But it’s ok. It’s all in my heart.
“Both of my dreams came true,” says Uche in an interview with Baltimoresun. “My dream of being an Olympic gymnast is finally right in front of my eyes, and I’m making my parents proud.”
It would be recalled that Uche whose father is a Nigerian earlier represented his fatherland in May 2021 at the African Championships in Cairo, Egypt. Then, it was a qualifying event for the Nigerian who has been practicing gymnastics since the age of three.
Speaking further on his goal, Uche said “What’s driving me is that I want to give back to Nigeria every time I go,” adding that he wants to bring honor to the country where his father was born and where he visits twice a year.
“Combining this degree with my being a Nigerian gymnast, that’s recognition,” Uche boasts, “I could do something hopefully to better the country.
“In gymnastics, it’s not just, ‘Oh, I’m doing a flip and I will land.’ No. I happened to land due to a bunch of practice. A competition is like an exam. If you’ve studied as hard as you could for the exam, then you should be doing well.
Same for gymnastics. If you train as hard as you can, then your performance at the competition should reflect your practice.”
It should be noted that Uche Eke competed for Nigeria at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco where he won gold and bronze medals.