The 8th edition of the Francophone Games were held in Abidjan, Ivory Costs. This was my third Francophone experience.
The first time it was held in Beirut back in 2009, where we had a two months of training camp at the Lebanese University but one day prior to the competition, I was informed that I couldn’t compete because I was only 15. I made lifetime friends like Manal Tayyar, Aziza Sbeity, Michel Zeinaty, Sara Awaly, Ramzi Naim and all the athletes became more close to one another.
In 2013, I broke the Long Jump record and had the opportunity to really experience competing at the Francophone Games in Nice, France. The level back then was really high; I remember meeting Olympic Champions from Poland like Thomas Majewski. As an illustrator I drew them in portrait with a black pen and gave them the drawings.
In 2017, it was the first time we travel to such a major championship with a big team. By big team I mean not only 3 to 4 athletes, but 8 this time. We spent 8 unforgettable days and nights, not only because we were very close and it was a very enjoyable group with Ramzi Naim, Aziza Sbeity, Mohamad Hannouf, Mohammad Mortada, Mahmoud Daou, Ahmad Hazer, Chris Boulos, Kathia Rached and Gaby Issa El Khoury, but also because we passed through ups and downs together and we supported one another.
On the other hand, it happened that I met a friend whom I didn’t see since 2009; Koita Yah, a long jumper from Mali, she now has two children. I also met Orwin Emilien, a really good friend from Mauritius who I met during the World Youth Championship in Lille Metropole back in 2011. We spent two weeks training in CREPS de Nancy before heading to the Worlds. I felt a bit old by meeting them again after so many years but I was happy to see them again.
This Francophone Games affected our Lebanese Individual Championship competition since during our stay in Abidjan, we were taking Malaria prevention pills, which had major side effects on us, such as flue, cough, exhaustion and fever. Our athletic team got at least one of the side effects at different stages. Aziza couldn’t compete in the 200m; Mahmoud was exhausted at the end of his 200m, he was also vomiting after arriving in Lebanon. Ramzi and Gaby got the flue.
From my side, I felt like I was battling the flue every morning but once I arrived in Lebanon, I lost the fight.
We arrived in Lebanon on Saturday, on Monday I decided to go for a jog, I felt so long despite being only an 8min run. Wednesday, was competition day. I had Long Jump, I was so eager to jump because we weren’t allowed to compete in different competitions during the season and I was ready to break the record but it wasn’t my day. Though I felt good and tried my best but ended up with a 5.46m jump. I wasn’t happy with my execution at all, especially with my technique. The only positive thing was my runway. After the Long Jump I had enough energy to run the 4x100m relay.
The next day, I had the 100m Hurdles and the Triple Jump; during the warm up, it felt like I lost all my energy from the day before. I did a 4min jog which felt like 10min. I had to sit on the floor between each drill, so I decided to only do a few and head to the track though I wasn’t feeling well. Once on the starting block, I did only 1 start with 2 hurdles and waited for the starter. “On your marks”, I said to myself, try to give your best no matter what. The start was good; I was doing ok, first second third hurdles, reaching to the 8th I had no power at all. In my mind, I was saying only two hurdles left but I messed up, my body couldn’t comply, even in the last 10 meters I couldn’t go faster, I jogged to the finish line and sat on the floor. I was breathing really fast, I moved to the side of the track and slept on the floor. I felt really heavy, and had no energy to stand up.
My teammate Marise, was next to me, I told her that I was fine and that I needed to rest a little bit. Gaby who was coaching me during this championship, took my hand, I told him I was exhausted and that I knew it since the warm up. He wanted to know if I was upset with my results but honestly I knew that it wasn’t a good day. I never felt so much tired since the anemia of 2014. I rested for an hour and then headed back to the triple jump.
I was feeling better. Gaby asked me to focus on the second jump. I executed well. I learned from yesterday’s Long Jump and didn’t take it very seriously. I tried to enjoy it as much as I could and jumped 11.20m.
This is not the end of the world, at least I had enough power to defend my titles. A member of my family died on the same day so this little problem was nothing compared to the rest of the problems people have to endure in life.
The only thing which bothered me, was the fact that I was super ready during the Francophone Games when I broke the 100m Hurdles record. And once I had to execute a good jump in Lebanon, I was powerless. Even the days after the competition I still felt as if my muscles were useless; this is the worst feeling if you are an athlete and you are supposed to be in shape.
The Open Clubs Championship will be held next week, on the 12th, 13th and 14th ; it will be my last chance to improve the hurdles’ record and execute a good Long Jump. On the 15th I’m traveling to Taipei for the World University Games where I will be competing in the 100 meters and Long Jump, hoping to set new Personal Bests.
The season is supposed to end here, but the upcoming season will be a new challenge, a new beginning.