Sunday, July 22, 2012

Danielle Alakija - or why I support Fiji at the 2012 Olympics

Danielle Alakija (image copyright of Tuni Barlow)
With the London Olympics just around the corner, I was checking out our Kenyan runners to get an idea of which Kenyan athletes will triumph at London 2012. Well, I concluded Vivian Cheruiyot has the cutest smile.

And while checking out our Kenyan athletes, I stumbled upon an athlete representing Fiji. Her name is Danielle Alakija. At an age of only 16, Danielle has qualified to compete in the 2012 Olympics running the Women’s 400 and the 200 meters.

Danielle Alakija is a citizen of three countries: England, Nigeria and Fiji. She was born in London. Her mother is from Nigeria. Her father’s family has roots in Brazil and England, while her grandmother on her dad’s side of the family is Welsh. Alakija moved to Fiji at six months old, and spent most of her life on the island nation. She moved to California at age 11.

Danielle Alakija (image copyright of Tuni Barlow)
Alakija is really excited about running in the Olympics just miles from her birthplace: It’s going to be amazing,” Alakija said recently.

Coach Maurice Greene told her to just go to the Olympics and have fun: 
Just enjoy the whole Olympic movement. Don’t have high expectations, just enjoy the whole Olympic movement.” 
He also said he has enjoyed working with Alakija:
She’s a wonderful young lady. She overcame a lot this year. She withstood all of it. Danni is a phenomenal athlete. She’s always in good spirits, and she works hard. She really took on a position of being a leader. This year, she took other girls under her wing and tried to help everyone get better.”
Teammates are also impressed with Alakija:
Danni is one of the hardest working athletes you’ll ever find.” 
 She pushes us all."
 At first, she comes off as intimidating. Once you get to know her, she’s hilarious. She’s really sweet.
And Alakija says:
I’ve been given a gift. It’s important to make use of it. This is my passion.

You can follow Danielle Alakija on Twitter for interesting updates such as this one:
It looks like Yodric is Danielle's favorite plushy, keeping her company at the Olympics.

And Danielle seems to really care about her hair too:

Well, she should be worried about her hair indeed. Danielle really looks good the way she is and I hope the London rains won't spoil her hair.

Back to our Kenyan athletes. They can smile, yes. Yes they can. But are our Kenyan athletes even on Twitter? They should get their act together and profile themselves for the Olympics! Fiji has already set the stage.


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