An insight on Athletics

The African Drops community is a community with a diverse range of talents. Previously we covered dance, but there are many more ways people can move their body in special ways. This week we are taking a look at the sport of athletics. We spoke with two local track stars and friends of African Drops. We had some questions on their views and experience and we hope to give you a first insight on the world of athletics.

First we are introducing Jamiro Elabeidi 24(@_mirooo_). Jamiro is a young physiotherapist from the vicinity of Leiden. Next to being found on the track, he works in Voorschoten and Rotterdam and gives bootcamps in Leiden as well. Athletics being his biggest hobby he still finds plenty of time to bust out some dance moves in styles like kizomba and semba. His more relaxing hobbies are playing guitar, video games all night, and watching Netflix series and anime.

Jamiro started athletics at an age of 16 years old and the last 8 years have been a blast. He lives for the rush and excitement during races. Together with the great community he can't think of anything not to like about the sport. Jamiro is a specialist in sprinting. He runs the 60,- 100,- and 200m sprint and shines best on the 60 meter. With 4 trainings on track a week and additional recovery training and workouts at home athletics. Trainings are comprised of, strength training, speed agility. Tempo-trainings, plyometric, short sprints, long sprints, starting training, relay training and much more. We had some questions on Jamiro's experince and views on his sport.

What is your athletics highlight so far?

- There have been a lot of highlights so far, but I think the biggest is my silver medal at the Dutch indoor national championships 60m sprint in 2019. The time that I ran, 6,71 seconds, was 0,06 removed from the European championships 2019. What made it so special is that it came out of nowhere. My goal was to just reach the finals. I honestly didn’t expect that I would come in second place.

What is the biggest lesson you learnt by doing athletics?

- The biggest lesson I learned has to be discipline. Always show up at trainings, always try to finish it to the end. Keep working even though the goal is far away. I honestly think athletics made me a much better person overall.

 Why or how did you start with athletics?

- I was always a fast runner, but I really started after I applied for a sport education when I was 16. During the admission test there was a short sprint (30m). After I ran the organization came to me and told me I was the fastest runner of the day. There were about 300+ people that day, so that really made me think that I should try it out. I started athletics that summer and the following winter I got 5th place at the junior nationals. After that moment my mind was set and I haven’t stopped since. 

Do you have an athletics idol and who is this?

- I admire a lot of athletes, both professional and those I often race against. But my biggest idol has to be Churandy Martina. Even before I started running I was in awe of his speed and his positivity. What makes this more special is that just one year ago I trained with him and the other pro-athletes in the Dutch 4x100m relay team. That’s how your idols become your teammates.

Do you ever get motivated from your African roots? In what sort of way?

- Definitely! It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. Being of mixed descend (Suriname, Dutch, Libyan) has made me able to connect to different roots and cultures all separated by customs and believes. And even though I’ve lived in the Netherlands my whole life, have a Libyan last name, I feel most connected with the Creol Suriname side and always have been. The only thing I regret, is that I don’t have direct sub-Saharan African place / country from which I know my roots originate from.

Do you face any challenges being a person of colour in the world of athletics and how do you overcome those?

- The biggest challenges I’ve experienced probably come from finding sponsors. But that is a issue can also stem from other causes, like how good I was/am, is there a budget for it etc.. I’ve always found it hard to really point the finger to colour when there are a lot more factors to consider.

Besides that I haven’t had any personal challenges in this sport, for which I am very grateful.

The challenges I face outside of athletics stem from simple things, like being distrusted, being insulted, both directly and indirectly etc… I try to overcome this by just trying to be the best person I can be for myself and no one else. I won’t let my colour, or how my colour is perceived by other, decide where I’ll end up!!

Do you notice an increase in Afro diversity in the world of athletics? And what sort of impact does this have?

- Athletics is a sport that is mostly dominated by people of African descend. At the top level the stereotype about people from west-African descend being good sprinters, and people with east-African descend being good long-distance runners are very much true, not considering the exceptions of course. At the national level or even amateur level that shows a lot too. There are always people of African descend participating in one event or the other.

Do you have any future goals with athletics?

- My biggest goal is the Olympics. Tokyo 2020 is a long shot so my focus is on the next Olympic games in 2024. Besides that I aspire to run at at least one European indoor championship.

Do you have a competition da ritual? Or something to help with good luck?

- My biggest ritual is to stay calm, laugh before a race, have a good time and enjoy the moment. My best times always come from days where I didn’t feel pressured or had low anxiety. When the pressure is too much my times suffer for it.

Why should other people start with athletics?

- I can’t explain the feeling u have when succeeding at your goals. From running a personal best, to seeing your friends and teammates succeed. It’s amazing!! And at the very least just put your children in it to let them learn some discipline.

What would you like to see next from African drops?

- More accessories, like necklaces, watches, maybe a backpack things like that!

If you could request one tune to dance to which tune would it be?

I got four:

- Semba tune: Monami, puto portugues

- Kizomba tune: Tu És a Mulher, C4 Pedro

- Soca tune: Hello, Kes

Do you have something else to share or announce?

Try some Surinamese food at RotiEnzo. All made by my lovely mom! Located in Roelofarendsveen, about 20min away from Leiden. It won’t disappoint!!

Next up we meet Chimène 24(@chithearies) from Leiden. She could be first found on the track at the age of 7 and 17 years later the love for athletics is still there. Chimène is a student at the Halo and will have a lot of new generations moving in the future. Like every African she knows how to dance but she also has a big passion for making music. singing and writhing her own songs she has more tracks then the one she runs on.
Chimène likes the adrenaline and the rush from pushing her body further than she could go previously. this gives her the feeling she literally can do anything in the world. Over the years she tried most of the events in athletics but shorts sprints have been her all time specialty. she had a period where she was also shining with the long jump and shot put too.
 
What is your athletics highlight so far?
- 5th place in the Netherlands in 2016 on the 200m (U20)
- And every time I break my personal record 
What is the biggest lesson you learnt by doing athletics?
- I’ve learned so much by doing athletics so it’s hard to narrow them down. I’m gonna say: “You are your own worst enemy” 
How much do you train in a week? What sort of training?
- Before corona I trained 4 times a week, now it’s 3. It’s mostly strength, technic and endurance training.
Why or how did you start with athletics?
- My father tells the story of me being very strong at a young age. I could carry a full beer case when I was 5. I also used to chase my nieces and nephews around the playground. So my parents decided to put me in athletics. 
Do you have an athletics idol and who is this?
- I absolutely adore Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce. Not only because I see resemblances but all her accomplishments on AND of track. A black woman, a athlete, a wife, a mom entrepreneur. I can talk about her all day.
Do you ever get motivated from your African roots? In what sort of way?
- I feel like I have an army of strong ancestors behind me. But I feel like that in all aspects of my life. They are rooting for me.
Do you face any challenges being a person of colour in the world of athletics and how do you overcome those ?
- I personally have not. 
Do you notice an increase in Afro diversity in the world of athletics? And what sort of impact does this have?
- Athletics always has been incredibly diverse and I love that.
Do you have any future goals with athletics?
- I used to be extremely goal oriented but I let that go because l stared to think I could literally plan my life out and it just doesn’t work like that. I’m pressing cruise control right now. 
Do you have a competition day ritual? Or something to help with good luck?
- I don’t have a ritual but I do think it’s important to do some positive self talk. 
Why should other people start with athletics?
- It’s tough to “sell” athletics to other people because when I have a really tough training I ask myself why I do it. I think I’m just addicted. If you are really thinking about joining a track team, I would say do it. You will learn a lot about yourself.
 
What would you like to see next from African drops?
- I would say headscarf's. 
If you could request one tune to dance to witch tune would it be?
- Rema - Woman
African Drops want to thank Jamiro and Chimène for there time and we hope you enjoyed this interview. Do you have a subject you want to see come by in the journey blog or do you have a interesting story yourself contact us on Instagram or send us a email.

Leave a comment