olympics

"I read scriptures in the Bible, so that I know God is going to be with me in that ring" 🥊

Field Reporter Tom Ellis (L) speaking to Joshua Buatsi (R) in Rio, Brazil 2016

Field Reporter Tom Ellis (L) speaking to Joshua Buatsi (R) in Rio, Brazil 2016

You can catch up on our latest Planet Sport feature, where we are looking back at the Rio 2016 Olympics and our conversation with British Boxer, Joshua Buatsi. He speaks to Tom Ellis about what it means to actually be an Olympian and how his faith in Jesus gives him the motivation that he needs!

Listen to the Planet Sport interview below:

From child soldier to Olympian!

Julius Achon speaking to Planet Sport's Tom Ellis at the 2018 CW Games. 

Julius Achon speaking to Planet Sport's Tom Ellis at the 2018 CW Games. 

Planet Sport caught up with a Ugandan track legend, Julius Achon to hear about his amazing journey of facing adversity, pursuing his dreams and ultimately becoming an Olympian! 

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 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."

Kombo Bere: "The bigger goal is to go to the Olympics and one day win the world champ jerseys"

Kombo Bere- Zimbabwean national athlete

Kombo Bere- Zimbabwean national athlete

Mountain Biking sensation, Kombo Bere took time out of his busy trail schedule to talk to us at Planet Sport about his career, his motivation to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and also how he sees riding as a platform to showcase his God-given talent.

As the Zimbabwean national champ, Kombo is now based in South Africa where he races for Team Pyga Euro Steel. 

Listen to the full Planet Sport interview below:

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."

Ruswahl Samaai: 'I see myself as an Olympic champion, God-willing'

After the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, we sat down with South African Long Jumper, Ruswahl Samaai to reflect on his Bronze medal at the Champs. We also discuss why South Africa are producing so many quality athletes in the sand!

A talented sportsman growing up, the 26-year-old had options . . ."At first I was a Triple Jumper in high school. I ended up doing Long Jump in 2012. The training for long and triple jump is exactly the same so we made a switch. From then on, right up until today I’ve now just focused on my long jump, so back in the day, I was another Christian Taylor!" 

 

Samaai is part of an elite group of South African long jumpers who are constantly pushing the boundaries of the event, he regularly competes with the likes of Luvo Manyonga, who won Gold at the World Championships, Khotso Mokoena and Zarck Visser, When asked about his recent bronze and the relationship between the rivals, he put it like this:

"I headed to London for the win, unfortunately that didn't happen. Whenever I see Luvo, Zarck or Khotso at a meet my mind starts getting into beast mode. So it’s awesome, we all strive to be better as long jumpers and we all have a hunger to be the best in our country. When I am home I am not competing against any guys, I am competing against the best in the world at every single meet. That builds character."

His competitiveness and drive to be the best is a stand-out attribute to his success, he did however point out another factor in his life that he believes will see him become Olympic champion:

"Faith plays a huge role in my life, let me take you back to the Olympics last year in Rio, I was one of the favourites to win an Olympic medal, I got injured two days before the competition and that completely threw me off. That was not my plan, I wanted to be the best that I could be and execute my plan, I was mentally frustrated and angry at God. It took me a while to trust him fully again, I asked why did you bring me so far and then fail me? It doesn’t make sense. At times I was so angry but after trusting him again everything starting changing and falling back into place."

 

"It came down to be believing in him and knowing that his plan for my life has already been mapped out, the only thing is to get me to fulfilment. After that, I fully committed myself to him and whatever happens this year I have faith on and off the track. It changed my life as a sportsperson and as a person. We have to believe that he has a plan for us and give everything into his hands. I see myself as an Olympic champion if it’s God’s will, I see myself as a world record holder, all of those things are possible."

Ruswahl ended with one piece of advice for aspiring long jumpers:

"All I can say to the young long jumpers out there is to have faith, don’t let the circumstances fool you, God has a plan for your life."