Sprinter Isatu Fofanah continues to race her way to international recognition.
Her family still lives in Ponoka but Fofanah, 20, moved to Edmonton a few years ago to develop her skills. “I just wanted to pursue track a lot more seriously.”
Most recently she competed in the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. Aug. 2 to 17 and earned herself gold in the 100-metre race, silver in the 200-metre and silver in the 4×100-metre relay.
Her goal for the Summer Games was to earn as many points as possible for her team and keep her number 1 seed.
Before any race she stays calm but the Summer Games brought a higher level of competition and spectators, which caused her some worry. Also the pressure of winning gold Aug. 15 in the 100-metre race put the pressure on her. Despite these concerns, Fofanah won silver in the 200-metre race and help her team get silver.
“Ontario is always up there…They’re the ones you have to beat,” she explained.
The other challenge at these races was a strong headwind; everyone’s times were slower than normal, said Fofanah. “Your legs were pretty much dead by the end of the race.”
Competing at this level gave the runner a better understanding of the challenges ahead racing in international competitions.
“It’s definitely opened my eyes up,” said Fofanah.
Her other goal was to remain uninjured at the end of the summer games. Now she will most likely stay in Alberta for a break and then travel back to the United States to study and train at North Arizona University where she intends to take advantage of her athletic scholarship with the school.
She trains about three hours a day with two hours on the track and one hour in the weight room to develop her strength and speed. “It’s all about strength and explosiveness.”
Fofanah thanked her supporters in Edmonton and Ponoka.
Alberta finished fourth in medal standings with 118. Third was British Columbia with 122, second was Quebec with 172 and first was Ontario with 213.