Sprinter qualifies Youth Olympics

Isatu Fofanah, 16, is gearing up for a year filled with competitions, track meets and training to get her to her ultimate goal – the 2012 Olympics.

By Jasmine Franklin

A Ponoka sprinter will be running in the heat of Singapore come August 2010 for the first ever Youth Olympics.

Isatu Fofanah, 16, is gearing up for a year filled with competitions, track meets and training to get her to her ultimate goal – the 2012 Olympics.

“I’m excited for (the Youth Olympics and to gain) experience and meet new people from all over the world,” Fofanah said. “I will get to compete at a new level.”

Receiving rides from volunteers to Edmonton five days per week, Fofanah trains at the University of Alberta with coach Walter Dong who has been with her since day 1.

The sprinter qualified for the Youth Olympics thanks to her results from last year’s national competition in Quebec. At nationals, Fofanah came first in the 200 m sprint and third in 100 m.

This summer, Fofanah will be busy. Junior Nationals and the Legion Nationals are held in New Brunswick this July. She will find out in June if she qualifies for the Western Canada Games in July. Thrown into the mix are different track meets.

If she qualifies in all these events, Fofanah has a shot to compete in the Commonwealth Games held in India this October.

Fofanah is really looking forward to the travelling.

“I’m starting to get used to being away form home.” Fofanah laughed. “It’s always nice to meet new people. I’d like to thank all the people taking the time to drive me, my coach, Walter, and for all the family support.”

Fofanah began her career as a sprinter two years ago after showing up to a Calgary meet even though she had never run before. Dong previously told the Ponoka News that she beat “the living daylight” out of her competitors and that track is a life lesson for her.