Sunday, August 5, 2012
The Nigerian athlete running for Jesus
A Nigerian athlete competing in the Olympics for the first time has revealed the importance of her Christian faith - both in the good times and bad
By Paul Hobson, 2K Plus International Sports Media
Special to ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- Stanford University-graduate Idara Otu, running in the women’s 4x400 relay which begins on Thursday, was born in the US and only visited her native Nigeria for the first time earlier this year. There she experienced the high of qualifying for the Olympics, and believes God has been instrumental in bringing her to this stage.
“Especially this year, God has really shown me what He can do with my talent. He’s opened a lot of doors for me that wouldn’t have been open without his help.”
Nevertheless Idara said having a faith does not immune you from disappointment: rather it can help you cope when things don’t go right.
“Being a Christian or having faith in something does not mean everything is going to be easy. It just helps to give you the strength to overcome whatever obstacles that are in your way.”
The 25-year-old is equally realistic about what to expect later this week, despite Nigeria’s creditable track record in the discipline (the team won silver in 1996).
“We have a lot of big shoes to fill, but we’re ready to handle those expectations,” she said. “We just hope everyone comes together and stays healthy.
“This is my first Olympic Games. Of course we want to be on the medal stand, but we want to compete well and bring pride and glory to Nigeria as a country.”
Whatever happens, her chief goal is to follow Jesus. Idara said she is inspired particularly by Psalm 37:4. (“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”)
“That’s really what I live by. Obviously I’m not perfect but I’m striving to be more Christ-like every day.
“I always think if I’m delighting in Him, He’s going to give me what’s in my heart.”
Paul Hobson is a former sports journalist, now the editor of The Baptist Times (www.baptisttimes.co.uk). He occasionally blogs on sport and faith for the Huffington Post. 2K Plus International Sports Media has reported from major sporting events with a Christian perspective since 1991. During the 2012 London Olympic Games 2K Plus is serving over 1500 radio stations in four languages as well as offering print, video, online and social media services. See www.2kplus.org.uk and www.planetsport.tv. Contact Adrian Barnard: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +44-7986-362487.
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