Beijing Reflections: Barbara Udoezi Nwaba

By Norm Zÿlstra, My post meet reflection on the 2015 Beijing World Championships.

My first World Championships went as follows.

I had a decent hurdle race to start off the heptathlon, running a 13.59, a tenth off what I ran at USA Nationals. I was really hoping for a [personal best] since I felt great in practice and was running fast. However I knew there were six more events I had left where I could improve and put together a big score…

Unfortunately this is all a tall tale. I would have been ecstatic if things had actually went this way. The truth is I take seven steps to the first hurdle but on the opening day of Worlds I let myself take eight steps instead, jumping off the wrong leg. I tried to recover in between hurdle one and two but I was too bunched. I hit hurdle two with my lead leg and went down, smacked the track hard and rolled into lane two. I could not believe this was happening to me. Before I could even think I got back up, ran over hurdle three and four, and hit hurdle five. Down I went again and this time all I could do was stare down the track in complete shock of what had just happened. My hopes of a podium finish were over. To put things in perspective when I ran 13.49 at USAs it was worth 1052 points. 25 seconds would have given me a whopping 4 points. Somehow they clocked me finishing at 59 seconds. Only I didn’t finish the race and nor did it matter. I walked off the track in disbelief. Pain on my face, tear stricken, and feeling immensely disappointed I wanted to be anywhere but inside the Bird’s Nest.

Luckily for me I have an awesome group of people in my corner. The support I received from my coach, family and friends really helped me get through the next six events. And not only get through it but really enjoy my time out there like I should. When my coach said, “Now let’s make it your goal to feel comfortable out there because you never quite looked yourself,” and my mother said, “Dry your eyes, don’t worry. You walked away with no injuries.” Barbara+Nwaba+Ekaterina+Voronina+15th+IAAF+AGXREDnORRAlIt really put into perspective just how awesome of an opportunity I was in and that I could not let it go to waste. I was officially getting ready for Rio 2016 and what better environment could I ask for?

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