runners on your lane ” the instructor screamed from a speaker hung closely to the starting point of the lane.
I was filled with tension as I stood on the number five lane.
Tho it had been easy for me throughout all the qualification stages but Philip was already out of the race.
” on your mark ” the speaker blared out. I heaved a sigh of relief as I went down. I swiftly took a quick glance at my opponents. They all had their eye fixed on the finishing line. They all looked ruthless as their vein stuck out from their flesh.
” set ” the speaker blared out again and I sighed deeply. I could hear the spectators screaming to cheer us up from their stand. Mom and Mr Tokunbo was also there. They came to support me and Happy.
The sound of the gunshot went off and I started running, I was late to take off but I was fast enough to cover for the space. I ran with all the speed my legs and body could offer me.
Unlike in school, I could still feel the presence of my competitors closer to me and that made me to focus more on the prize as I pushed myself to run faster . I wasn’t only doing it for the school but myself included.
Coach had told me that there would be different scouts from abroad and local to watch and evaluate us and if we’re lucky to be scouted by the foreigners, it might be our gateway to obtaining a citizenship card of a foreign country without any stress because they’ll be taking us to their country so that we could represent it in international competition, but such opportunity is often hard to come across.
It was a moment I wouldn’t be able to forget in my lifetime as I crossed the line and the spectators screamed out joyfully.
Happy, Philip and other runners on the team scampered out from the athletes stand to join me as they all embraced me.
I saw my mom from where she was standing as she celebrated my victory.
I felt on top of the world as my competitors also came to shook hand with me.
” you’re the Usain Bolt of Nigeria ” the guy that took the second position said teasingly. I thought he was just been sarcastic until I watch the last moment of the race on a big TV that was hung in front of the spectators stand and I saw that none of them came close, I was the one imagining them to be close.
” we’ve a new record set by Salako Benjamin from Hibiscus valley for the one hundred meter race which he concluded at 9:58 seconds, beating the former record of 13:49 seconds set by Chukwuma Eberibe of Best brain college ” the speaker blared out and the spectators roared joyfully.
” congratulations my heart ” Happy said to me after everyone had left to the stand.
At her own race, she had picked the silver medal after coming second in a controversial decision by the panelists. It was a tough decision to call because she and the girl that took the first position were tied but somehow, they declared Happy second.
” girls for the relay race should come forward ” the speaker blared out.
” wish you luck ” I said to her as I head to the stand to meet my guys as the girls trooped out and head to the lane.
They’re all placed at their spot with Happy been the fastest runner for our school, she was the last leg.
The girl that Happy had to compete the first position was also in the last leg and I wished Happy would beat her this time even if she doesn’t come first because the race depend on the work rate of the partners.
The first runner were all given a baton before the race started.
As fate would have it, Happy and the girl was handed a baton by the third runners at the same time but they already had two girls who had received their batons before they collected their own in front of them.
The two girls started running and in no time, the girls at the first were behind them. Like it happened in the hundred meter race, they were been tied again as they head to the finishing line.
Few inches from the finishing line, Happy suddenly increased her speed and she was able to get to the finishing line first.
Our team ran out from the stand to congratulate her and without much consultation from my brain , I was running towards her to lift her and hugged her, even kissed her because I was very proud of her, but Philip beat me to it as he lifted her up and spinned her around.
I congratulated the rest of the girls as I returned to the stand. I was jealous but also happy that Philip beat me to it because I could have done something rash.
Philip, Mohammed, Lekan and I didn’t bother returning to the stand because we were next.
Philip was to take the first leg, Lekan second, Mohammed third while I was stationed for the last leg.
The gunshot went off and the race began, Philip took the first position and handed the baton to Lekan and he also was trying hard to keep the position intact until he was about to get to Mohammed and his speed suddenly decreased as he started limping on a leg, it was a muscle pull, Mohammed was swift to notice and helped cover the distance as he fell back to collect the baton from him and started running.
Mohammed had already fallen to fifth position and had to run very fast in order to cover for the loss and by the time he got to where I was, he was able to drag the third position with another guy.
I received the baton with two guys in front of me. I started running more faster than I did in the hundred meter race. In no time, I snatched the second position and was just few meters away from the first. I felt like my leg was going to get dislocated from my body with the way I was running. Few meter away from the finishing line, I was able to take the first position and maintained it till I crossed the finishing line.
I got a standing ovation from all the spectators as my team mates except Lekan who was nowhere to be found, probably been taken off for treatment, all rushed to where I was.
We all hugged ourselves happily jumping up excitedly.
I saw Happy running towards us and instead of going for Philip, she jumped on me and embraced me passionately in front of everyone.
Wondering why I didn’t mention anything about the swimming competition, that’s because Philip and I failed awfully in it.
We competed with fishes and not humans, they were faster and more skillful than us. I was lucky to get the bronze medal in it.
Our football team was also trying, we’ve qualified for the final after trashing the team we faced at the semi final two goals to nil. Both were scored by Mohammed and I provided one of the assists for it.
The football final was to be the last game of the competition. We were facing a school from Abuja and from what we heard, they’ve been trashing all their opponents nothing less than five goals on their way to the final.
I was sure we could defeat them because we had a good goalie. Throughout the competition, he only conceded only two goals in six matches and the combination of Mohammed and me, we’re deadly.
After the race, it was only remaining the final football game to round up the competition.
I was already smiling at three medals inside my room but I felt like the football own will be the real deal. And the fact that it will be played in my school made it felt more significant.
Winning the cup in such state would be great.
The two days before the match was dedicated to training and it was visible in the team that we were all aiming for the cup.
The match was fixed to Saturday but all the students came to school. The school was filled to brim. The governor of the state with honorable dignitaries were in attendance. Mr Popoola the school owner was also around. It felt like we were playing world cup final.
Our coach gave out many prep talk, giving us reasons why we must win and by the time we were out on the pitch and seeing those that came to watch us play, I felt the urge to win circulating more through my vein.
The whistle was blared out from the referee and the match was put to a start.
Our opponents looked hungry for success but we were more hungrier.
We played for over twenty minutes without anyone getting on the score line but our goalkeeper has been tested with three outstanding shots which he kept out and Mohammed was only able to shoot a shot that was off target.
They were constantly on the attacking side making sure we were less with the ball. Our midfielders weren’t doing good job in keeping the ball in our court and I couldn’t play as a midfielder because we were playing on 442 information which required me to be a supportive striker.
Forty minutes into the match, the ball finally located the back of the net , not for us but for our opponents. Our goalkeeper really tried, facing a total shots of six and only one made it into the net. Disappointment was written on our faces as we all looked moody.
We passed and wanted to make a buildup on the ball but the ball was suddenly snatched from me and it became a temple run as we were countered and it resulted into a goal.
Now we all know that we were heading for the five goals loss.
The referee came to our rescue on the forty five minutes and stopped the match.
It was a humiliating case for us, been trashed in our own backyard and having nothing to do about it. What we were really missing in the team is Lekan, if he had played, I would have been able to stick to my role without the team having any problem but after picking up an injury in the race, he couldn’t be field.
Our coach didn’t have much to say to us than telling us to play the second half with all we have .
I could sense disappointment from all our fans, Happy, my parents, Mr Popoola, our supporter in form of the students.
I told my team that we should change the formation to five four one, Mohammed been the only striker, I’ll fall to midfield while our five defense will make sure they keep there forwards away from our half. Instead of absorbing pressure, we’re ready to dish it out.