By Adam Eisenbarth
Speedster Isatu Fofanah is becoming a force in track and field as she climbs the ladder to Olympic status.
At just 16 years old, Ponoka’s Fofanah is training to improve the running skills that have already landed her some national hardware.
Fofanah competed in the recent Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships in Sherbrooke, Que. and earned medals in several categories. She placed third in the 100-metre race and second in the 200-metre race. She also contributed to a bronze in the 4×400-metre relay and silver in the 4×100-metre.
“It was really fun. There were 600 athletes in the entire thing and the atmosphere was just awesome to be a part of.”
Her results haven’t come without work.
Being the dedicated athlete she is, Fofanah trains with the Edmonton Thunder Track and Field Club.
“I train Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Edmonton. Right now we’re doing base training to increase my cardio and I’m working out to get stronger out of the blocks.”
When asked of her goals in track and field, Fofanah answers without hesitation: “The Olympics. It would mean everything to me. I would be so happy with that.”
Fofanah believes she can obtain her goal and has proven that such a feat is within her reach as she racks up the medals and remains focused on improving.
With her outstanding results in Sherbrooke, Fofanah has qualified to race in the World Juniors in Moncton, N.B. next August.
“I actually never dreamed of qualifying to represent Canada at the World Juniors next year. I’m so excited even though I’ll be competing against people three years older than me.”
Fofanah is inspired by the work of two other track and field runners and uses their work to drive her to achieve her best.
“I have always looked up to Wilma Rudolph because she suffered from scarlet fever and never let anything stop her from running no matter what. I always loved her and I also definitely look up to the amazing Usain Bolt.”
Also a basketball player, the busy athlete knows her accomplishments have relied on the support of others along the way.
“The support of my family has been huge and it’s been great to always have my friends there for me too.”
Perhaps one day, the Ponoka athlete will have the support of the entire nation as she goes for the gold on the biggest stage of all.