Athletes representing Sierra Leone at the Rio Olympics have now completed their missions as international ambassadors to the greatest global sports event in the world. They may not have performed very highly to what most Sierra Leoneans would love to see but they however did their best.
Ishamail well known as Dudu by his friends is inspired to one day use sports to improve the lives of his countrymen and women.
Hailing from humble beginnings in Makeni, Sierra Leone; Ishamail was awed by his selection to the Olympics and the opportunity to spend time hobnobbing with the best athletes in the world at the Games village.
Currently considered the best homebased male sprinter for Sierra Leone a lot of people who have seen Ishamail run in person thinks he has one of the best potential to returning Sierra Leone sprinting to its glory days of sprinting (1980’s and 90’s), as he looks destined to become Sierra Leone’s best sprinter ever.
Tall and elegant he is a very respectful young man who knows the power of what he represents and with humility he sees how with time and improvement he can one day become that ultimate and quintessential sprinter like Usain Bolt have for Jamaica that will put a smile on the faces of his countrymen and women and in essence help to change the narrative of his nation from a negative to a positive one:
African Sports Monthly caught up with Ishamail to get a feel for what he has and is going through prior to the Games and after his performance during his heat on Saturday August 13th 2016.
When you received word that you were selected for the Olympics how did you feel?
Ishamail: I was so excited so I said to myself Ishamail you are going to be an Olympian … Thank you God, … so I immediately called my parents and gave them the good news.
You have been in Rio for over a week now how do you feel being at The Olympics and what do you think of Brazil?
I feel so proud of myself that I am here in Rio with Athletes that I have been admiring for a long time and always wanted to meet and I am finally here with them in the same games village. Brazil is a nice place and the people are friendly.
What motivates you as an athlete
As an athlete I always want to do better, I always think deeply; knowing that I am from a very poor country that I need to do well to help my people … if at least I can put a smile on their faces, that in itself really inspires me to work hard and do my best, and so I stay highly motivated … The very thought of thinking of where I come from and the many encouraging words I receive from people around me is a very great inspiration to me.
What athlete do you admire most in sports today?
I admire Usain Bolt the most … he is always calm and confident. He is an inspiration.
What are your goals for the future?
I want be a person that will change the lives of many Sierra Leoneans and people around the world through sports. I want to be educated and become the person that I desire to be. So I can use that to inspire others to achieve their goals.
What do you have to say to your countrymen and women at home in Sierra Leone and around the world
I just want to tell everyone that if you believe in your abilities and believe in God you will achieve great things and greatness will be achieved collectively so long as we keep on pushing. So as a nation let us all strive to be better and we can make our nation better and great so let’s keep working hard in our individual fields. I want to also ask everyone Support Team Salone because that’s all we have. #teamsalone https://www.facebook.com/teamsalone/