jesuschrist

"I just sat there and prayed, Lord is this the end of my career?"

Reporter Tom Ellis (L) speaking with Kyron McMaster during the Commonwealth Games in Australia

Reporter Tom Ellis (L) speaking with Kyron McMaster during the Commonwealth Games in Australia

On this week’s Planet Sport we featured a double-header of serious Athletic talent, USA’s World and Olympic Triple Jump Champion, Christian Taylor, spoke to us about where his identity lies, plus Kyron McMaster speaks about winning the British Virgin Island’s first Commonwealth Games medal!

Listen to the Planet Sport interview below:

Ezinne Okparaebo: 3-time Olympian and Norwegian 100m record holder!

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Being the national record holder for any sporting event is highly impressive, but Ezinne Okparaebo has taken the 100m title for multiple years in a row, making her the undisputed, fastest woman in Norway!

Nigeria-born Ezinne, has turned out at 3 Olympic Games, Beijing, London and Rio, and still has hopes of making it 4 when Tokyo 2020 comes around.

We spoke to Ezinne about her love for the track, how she made a life herself in Scandinavia and importantly how her faith in Jesus has impacted on her career.

Listen to the Planet Sport interview below:

Saracens' Will Skelton talks Wallabies, World Cup ambitions & faith

On the latest Podcast we feature Saracens and Australia Rugby star, Will Skelton, who talks about his thoughts ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan and he tells us how important his faith in Jesus is to his on-field game.

That’s not all! USA Rugby’s Carlin Isles, the world’s fastest Rugby player, also joins us to play the ‘This or That’ game. Is he as quick with his words as he is with his feet?

Listen to the Planet Sport Rugby Podcast below:

Image Credit: Alasdair Massie

"When you pull on the red jersey, it's this pride that we have as Canadians"

Photo cred: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

Photo cred: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin

Planet Sport caught up with Canadian basketballer, Ruth Hamblin to talk about what it means to represent her country, the perks of being 6ft 6" and how important her faith is to her.

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

"I knew that if I really worked hard, it could happen"- Kare Adenegen

Credit- British Athletics/ Getty Images

Credit- British Athletics/ Getty Images

Planet Sport caught up with wheelchair racer Kare Adenegen, who in June, set the British T34 World Record. She tells us how it feels to be a world record holder and how her faith as a follower of Jesus Christ impacts her life on and off the track.

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

"Deep down I'm a fighter and I'm not going to give up"- Wenda Nel

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Olympic Hurdler Wenda Nel spoke to Planet Sport's Norman Brierley about what has been a tough season for the South African, but also how despite all of this, she continues to fight, to be an example to others and to 'live out the gift that she has been given'.

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

"I'm a human being first and then an athlete second"

South Africa v New Zealand (Commonwealth Games 2018)

South Africa v New Zealand (Commonwealth Games 2018)

Keenan Horne plays for South Africa's Hockey team. At 26, he has broken into the national side and featured in their recent tournament at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.

Planet Sport's Liam Flint spoke to the man himself, on Gold Coast, Australia, in amongst the busy competition schedule, to find out more about the number 10 and see what has propelled him to the top of the sport:

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview with Keenan below:

"They told me that I had small calf muscles, so I couldn't kick a ball"

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Meet Willy Ambaka, Kenya Rugby's star man in the sevens format. The 28-year-old winger has made over 30 appearances and notched 325 points for the Shujaa National Team and is a central figure in their HSBC Sevens Series campaign.

Planet Sport's Norman Brierley spoke to the man himself, at the HSBC Sevens meet at Twickenham, London, about where his love for Rugby came from and his hopes for Kenya as a rugby nation:

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview with Willy below:

Looking ahead with Wallabies forward Scott Sio

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26-year-old Scott Sio plays for Australian Super Rugby side, Brumbies, and has also been capped by the Wallabies 43 times to date.

The world-class forward took time out to chat to Planet Sport, about following in the sporting footsteps of his father, what it means to pull on the green and gold and how his faith in God helps him in life. 

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview with Scott below:

"I was told that I would never walk again"- Jarryd Wallace

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In interview with USA's Paralympic sprinter, Jarryd Wallace. . .

Speaking to Planet Sport on:

The ultimate career ambition. . . "A Paralympic medal would be nice, I've been fortunate enough to win a gold in every level of competition besides the Paralympics, so I've got eyes on Tokyo 2020. But It's not forever and when the Lord says I'm done, I'm done and I'll go through the next door that he opens." 

The message he's trying to display through his athletics. . . "I think the biggest thing as an athlete and a believer is consistency, how we respond to the outcome of a race or how we respond in victory. Also having the opportunities to build and cultivate relationships with fans and room with athletes, it's a great basis to share my faith."

How much his faith impacts his athletic performance . . ."It's a huge part of it, the reality of it is that seven years ago I was told that I would never walk again and had my leg amputated. I had the dream not just to walk, but to run at the highest level and so every day that I get to run is a gift and a blessing. That's what keeps me motivated."

What difference his faith makes to his life outlook. . . "It makes both winning and losing just easier and there is no pressure. Obviously it's fun to win races and it's fun to run fast but at the end of the day I'm not defined by one race or one time. It gives me freedom to enjoy the sport and enjoy the competition, some days it comes together and when it doesn't, that's just part of it."

 

 

Getting through the ups and downs. . ."My highs aren't too high and my lows aren't too low. I just maintain purpose, focus and I think my plateau is higher than most which is exciting."

The pattern of Christian athletes in USA Track & Field. . ."It's been really cool to watch my generation stepping out and being bold in their faith. You look at the world and society that we live in and it's based on performance or who can get what. It's a lot about take and not a lot about give but if you look at the gospel, it's our job to love and serve others. The attitude and the basis of faith for us as athletes is a huge part of us finding joy, regardless of the outcome."

"It is God that makes me a better footballer"- Christian Atsu

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On this week's Planet Sport Football Africa, we catch up with current Newcastle United winger, Christian Atsu. After a good end to this year's Premier League Campaign, the 26-year-old tells us about where he currently sees Ghanaian football, his future ambitions on the pitch, and what he makes of Rafa Benitez!

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

Racing against your roommate- Meet Dyan Buis & Charl Du Toit

Dyan Buis (L) with Charl Du Toit (R)

Dyan Buis (L) with Charl Du Toit (R)

Dyan Buis and Charl Du Toit are the epitome of a competitive friendship, the two South African Para athletes, both medaled at this year's Commonwealth Games, running in the same T38 category event. Fierce competitors on the track, they also share a deep friendship off it, where they share a common love for their sport and their faith in Jesus. 

Planet Sport's Tom Ellis caught up with the pair, before and after their medal-winning exploits to talk about what it means to represent their country together and how the focus on para-athletes is growing. 

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

Golden Aussies: Talking all things Basketball with George & Seekamp

Nicole Seekamp (L) & Cayla George (R)

Nicole Seekamp (L) & Cayla George (R)

The Australian women's basketball team, The Opals, took the Commonwealth Games by storm on Gold Coast and cruised through to win outright Gold. Planet Sport caught up with two of their key players, Connecticut Suns' Cayla George & Adelaide Lightning's Nicole Seekamp to talk about their international success, what the secret is and how much it means to compete on home soil:

"Its definitely special and exciting to play on the beautiful Gold Coast. To have an event like this in Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

"Despite the injuries, God managed to bring me back"

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We spoke to Ugandan Rugby 7s star, Philip Wokorach while we were reporting on the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The 24-year-old carries much of the country's weight on his shoulders but you wouldn't know it. Tune in to Planet Sport and hear the outside centre speak on his setbacks, his ambitions and his faith in Jesus:

Meet Zambia football starlet- Emmanuel Banda

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Emmanuel Banda is one of many highly-talented, young Zambian footballers coming through from U20 level, who has the potential to become one of the great African players. We caught up with the 20-year-old forward to talk about how he's got to where he is today in Belgium, his hope for the Zambia national team and also why his Christian faith is so important to him:

Emmanuel spoke with Planet Sport Football Africa's Liam Flint. . . 

On how he first got spotted in Zambia. . . "We played in a game that was live on Sky Sports and I would say that it was actually one of my best games in 2016. After the game I received a call from the man who is my manager now, from Mozambique, he said that he wanted to work with me and try to get me a move to Europe. We agreed terms and he took me to Portugal."

On playing his football in Belgium for Oostende. . . “Playing in Europe has really been a good thing for me, it’s helped me improve as a player in all aspects. I’ve learnt about new cultures of playing football, with the style of play in Belgium and we have all the resources at our disposal, any time we need them. That’s really good because it helps a player to improve much faster. Playing football at home in Zambia, resources are a bit limited and so I think almost every African player dreams of coming to play in top flight football.”

On how he handles the pressure and hype of people’s growing expectations. . . "At times you know that it is a motivating factor for you, when people are saying good things. On the other hand, it gives pressure because everyone is now expecting a lot from me. They want to see the best of me, so it keeps me moving and I make sure that I do my best every time that I am on the pitch. I should not disappoint the people back home."

On the secrets behind Zambia’s U20 World Cup run. . . "I would say hard work, hard work was one of the main reasons why we started and the commitment that each and every player had, we had a dream as a team of what we wanted to achieve at the World Cup. We would use that as our driving force and most importantly we committed our works to the Lord. We said that we could do everything through God and we managed to do it because God has never failed and he’s not going to today. We did our level best and He did the rest."

On which young talent in the Chipolopolo squad will become the next big star. . . "That’s a tricky question but from my team mates I would really fancy a lot of players, not single-handedly saying one player. Maybe four or five can actually make it into being top Zambian talents. I would say, Patson Daka, Fashion Sakala, Enock Mwepu, Kenneth Kalunga, these are some of the most exciting players that I have worked with. I’ve seen their commitment and how hard they work. I really feel that with the right attitude and with the right people around us, we can achieve great things."

On whether he can break into the senior Zambia side. . . "Yes, I would say that is my next target now. Some of my colleagues are already in the senior team, Patson, Fashion, they are now regular starters so that gives me a drive and the confidence, knowing that my friends are in the team. I can also do it, I can also do the same."

 

On his big club and ultimate ambition in football. . . "The club that I would like to play for, I have two, is Borussia Dortmund and for Arsenal. I would really like to play in the English Premier League or in the Bundesliga, I love their play and their play is similar to Barcelona. I believe that is my type of football, so for now I have ambitions of reaching the quarter or semi-finals of the Europa League. I want to go all the way."

On where his faith in Jesus comes from. . . "It was in 2012, I remember the day, I was 12 and it was the December. So it was 12, 12, 12. We had gone to Zimbabwe with my academy team and then before the tournament ended we had a church service. The pastor was preaching and I decided to give my life to Christ. After that, things started moving in a way that I did not expect, I would go for trials but bigger teams would enquire about me and say to come and train with us. The way was made for me and that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, to accept Christ."

On why he’s been given the footballing ability that he has. . . "I believe it’s a talent that God has given me, I really love the sport and enjoy doing what I do. The best that I can do is just to work extra hard every day, that’s the only thing that I can give back. I say thank you to the Lord for giving me such a talent."

When you win the AFCON at 23, where do you go next?

Cameroon's Collins Fai

Cameroon's Collins Fai

Cameroon defender Collins Fai, now at the age of 25 can already say that he has won one of the most highly sought after trophies as an African footballer. . . the Africa Cup of Nations. 

We caught up with the right-back, who plays his football in Belgium with Standard Liege, to talk about what other aspirations he has moving forward and how his Christian faith is still the most important thing in his life.

Collins Fai speaking on:

How Cameroon managed to win the AFCON. . ."For us the objective was just to get through the first stage of the tournament. For a very long time Cameroon didn't even get through the group stage so we didn't have that one player or star, for about 60% of us that was our first major tournament. From the beginning we didn't think about winning the cup, until after we beat Senegal and then we said that we could do this. let's just go and have fun. It's just a blessing because we didn't have a team that could compete for the trophy."

What his next, big dream is now. . . "For the national team, I hope and I wish that we can win the next AFCON because it is in Cameroon and for the country because we are hosting it. Then I think the next dream for me in the national team is to get to the World Cup."

Which African teams will go the furthest at this summer's World Cup. . ."I think all of the five teams are already capable to do something but if I have to pick, I choose Nigeria. I played against Nigeria and I believe that they have a very good team. They can definitely do something."

Why his Christian faith is so important. . . "The way that I got to Europe and the way that I started to play in professional football, it's a story of the more that I go forward, the more reasons I see for why some things happen. I don't merit all of these things but I have them and I believe that it's the will of God for me."

To listen to the full interview, see below:

Day 4: Patience is a virtue

Jereem 'The Dream' Richards- Trinidad & Tobago

Jereem 'The Dream' Richards- Trinidad & Tobago

As we enter Day 4, it seems unbelievable that we are half way through our trip to the Gold Coast. Time has flown and now that the medals are being dished out thick and fast, the battle of Australia vs England to end up on top of the table is hotting up. 

To this point, we've patiently been waiting for the Games to kick off, for interviews to come through and for our work to take shape. We are now building momentum and seeing some great opportunities present themselves, in the shape of great athlete stories, testimonies and networking with other organisations. 

Our preparation which started a week before the Games began is now bearing fruit and we are very encouraged with what we are able to produce, our shows will hopefully be testament to that!

Ristananna Tracey: "Without God we can do nothing"

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Read our track & faith interview with Jamaican Hurdler, Ristananna Tracey. After a bronze medal at the World Champs, we caught up with her at the Birmingham Diamond League meet:

You are part of a really talented generation of Jamaican track athletes, how do you keep producing high quality performers?

"I think our facilities can be better so we work with whatever we have, we work extremely hard and we train extremely hard. I think that is what leads to our success."

You actually started out with the high jump, how did you then find the hurdles?

"I was doing high jump and my high school coach came to me and he said 'oh we have this tall girl and she is just wasting her talent over here' because I wasn't doing that well. He asked me, why not try the 800 metres? So from there I started training for the 880 metres and I started competing. Each time I competed I realised that my times were going down and they kept on improving. At that time I decided to try the 400 metre hurdles and did well at the event, from there people saw that I had potential and I just continued to do it."

What are the keys to becoming a world-class hurdler?

"Most definitely, I think the 400m hurdles is one of the hardest track events, you need to have endurance and I solely depend on it in most of my races. I'm not as fast as the other girls, their flat 400 races are faster than mine and so I think strength, endurance and technically is a big part of it."

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Off the track your faith in Jesus is important to you, does it impact your athletics?

"Most definitely, I mean without God we can do nothing. I believe that with him everything is possible. All the glory goes to him."

And what difference does knowing God make to your life?

"I put all my believe in him, I put all my trust in him so when I am going out to race, my mum always told me not to be afraid to go down on my knees and pray. I do exactly that before my races, ensuring that I pray before I go out to race and when I pray I realise that I am achieving whatever I am asking for. That then makes me believe in Him more."

How much does your faith help you in difficult times?

"Injuries do come and sometimes you feel like giving up but I always have people around me, telling me that better days are coming. I pray about it and believe."