Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guinea, Guinea, Guinea! "Oi, Oi, Oi!"

Tomorrow night, Sally McLellan runs in the final of the women's 100m hurdles. She was one of two Strayan athletes (along with Craig 'Buster' Mottram) I predicted would have a shot at a track medal at Beijing. Good luck to the plucky 21 year old Queenslander.

But no such luck for the Guineans I'm afraid. Meet Fatmata Fofanah:

In Heat 5 of Round 1 of the 100m hurdles, Fatmata Fofanah took to the track.

I've done some research. Fatmata was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone (another oxymoron) in 1985, but at some point, she and her parents Mohamed and N'Sira moved to the USA, presumably for a better life.

In 2004, she finished third at the Indoor Scholastic Nationals in the 60m hurdles in her junior season and also won something called 'The Colgate' title in the hurdles. She then received All-American honours at the 2007 NCAA Division event in California, and came 4th (in a speedy 12.96) in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

She studies International Affairs at Georgia Tech.

She was fast, but not quite fast enough to make the USA track team, so, for the second time in her life, she changed nationalities and became a proud Guinean and was chosen to represent her newly adoped country in this event.

Obviously, she has devoted most of her life training to get into the Olympics - you must surely be pretty determined if you're willing to become a Guinean just to compete.

I watched her heat. Naturally, I had never heard of her before the starter's gun went off. What made me think Fatmata was worthy of posting is that the poor girl fell at the first hurdle... and that's not a metaphor. She ran 15 metres in about 3 seconds, and that was it. That was her entire Olympic contribution.

So when we watch Phelps, Bolt and all those bogan 'Golden Girls' bathe in their Olympic glory, I ask you to consider, just for one second, Fatmata Fofanah and the thousands of other Olympians that failed miserably.

I wish her luck with her International Affairs course.

(Photo from USA Today - Fatmata Fofanah falling at the first hurdle, thus shattering the Guineans dream).

Here's an even more poignant shot I found:


catlick said...

Incentive. Let the VRC run the hurdles, and, by God, they'd clear the jumps, or suffer the consequences.

squib said...

Thanks for cheering us all up Persey

Fad MD said...

I did quite like the tears for the Chinese hurdler. Apparently a quarter of the chinese athletics budget goes into keeping him fully supported.

Personally nothing impresses me more than a snapped hammy at full pace. Having done one myself at footy many moons ago I can empathise, although that does not diminish the comedic value of watching someone clutching at the back of their leg, particularly if they have to run through/fall over hurdles while doing so.

Fad MD said...

Hmmm...I think that last sentence was the literary equivalent of doing a hammy.

patchouligirl said...

I see these poorer countries with their teams of less than 10 competitors do the opening ceremony parade and I can't help but wish they'd give the bigger countries a kick up the arse by winning some major events. But then I always was a sucker for the underdog.

Perseus said...

Catlick: Gold.

Squib: But it's a cheery story, sort of. At least she gets some recognition here at TSFKA.

Fad: I've re-read that sentence 5 times and can't see what's wrong with it. Oh, and even funnier than hammy clutching is those gymnasts that fall but they still have to do that fey salute thing at the end. Dignity? No.

PG: I agree. In fact, I put it to you that it is more Australian to barrack for the Guinean athlete than to barrack for the Australian. That's why I barrack for Sri Lanka in the crisket anyway. Even when they play Australia. Because I'm Australian. Know what I mean?

patchouligirl said...

Valvoline. Actually my dad invented Ampols 'Longhaul' years ago if you ever heard of that. He wanted to use the slogan 'truckin good oil' to market it but at the time it was vetoed. The oil went pretty well though. He was a big fan of the 'oils aint oils' series of ads too.

Perseus said...

Go Sally! I stayed up late to watch the race... what a ripper, and her post-race interview was hilarious and brilliant. What a star.

Now we just have to get Buster and the men's 4 x 400m relay team over the line.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Who is Sally?

What's a 4 x 400m relay?

I swear, I don't understand the world any more.

Fad MD said...

Ah yes, the gymnast salute.

I saw some runner in the women's 5k heat walk off the track crying and have to be carried off on a stretcher. Not sure what that was all about.

I was also amused watching the high jump last night. The Russian that won it was unusual looking to say the least. I reckon his legs were about 2/3 of his whole height and his whole look screamed "Eastern European".

Fad MD said...

I see Buster failed at a big meet again.

Perseus said...

Yep, Buster fucked it up totally. He even admitted in his post-race interview that he didn't check what the qualifying tme was before he ran. What an idiot. He's in the Top 5 in the world, easily, in the 5000m, yet he ran, tactically, like a spastic.

I was fuming, because I stayed up late to watch him even though I have a cold and had to get up at 6am this morning.

At least Usain Bolt gave me a good reason for staying up. What a fucking star.