Nothing‘ll make me switch nationality — Tonjor

By Daily Sports on December 2, 2016

Views: 2,434

By Augustine Kalu

Nigeria’s female elite swimmer and 200mtrs national breaststroke record breaker, Rachael Tonjor, has vowed never to ditch her beloved fatherland, Nigeria no matter the circumstance.

The Olympian, who was a part of the Nigerian contingent to the Rio Olympics in Brazil said that no amount of money or other enticements would make her think of switching nationality. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps swimmer made the declaration in an interview with Daily Sports at the end of this year Chief of Naval Staff Open Swimming Championship held at the swimming pool complex of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos.

The Edo State-born swimmer, however, revealed that she would only leave the shore of this country for training purposes and competitions and not that she will represent another country in any championship.

According to her, she would like to go on training tour of other countries in order to improve her swimming skills and ability and not that she would like to represent another country rather than Nigeria, a country she said has made her what she is.

Tonjor said: “I am not planning to join any country whatsoever, but what I need is training tour to help me improve on my swimming. We used to have foreign based swimmers in Nigeria before now, but for some time now, there are no swimmers from Nigeria that are outside there.

“Training tour is very important because even the whites don’t train in their respective countries. They go to other places they know their swimming is higher than their own, to train. They go to other countries to train with other swimmers who are better than them in order to improve. Take, for example, some of them go to the United States of America to train with the likes of Michael Phelps.

“They train with them in order to up their swimming and such trainings help them to improve the more. They don’t train in their countries and not to talk of us Nigerians who don’t even have standard pools. Take for instance where I train in Edo State, we are using 20mtr pool for our training and here we are competing in 50mtr pool. So, you can imagine when I am using 20mtr pool to train and here I am competing in 50mtr pool.

“The implication is that I have to master the pool first before talking of whether I will come first or not. So if we could get to train like that outside the country, I think that the sky will just be our starting point and we’ll get there.

“I can’t swim for them. Though I want to swim, I want to train and come back to my country and make my country proud because my country has really built me.

“Therefore, there is no need for me to join another country.  All that I need from them is to join them and train in order to improve my swimming skills and ability. I need them to drag me, because I need to catch up with them that is what I am trying to say. I am not interested in joining any country or switching allegiance to any other country.

“I love my country and I desire to make them proud. So, like I said earlier, I am not interested in switching allegiance to another no matter what they may promise to offer me. My country is my country and I am proud of my country. Nothing will entice me to joining another country. It is a no go area. My country made me what I am today and I will never turn my back on her, God forbid. Nigeria has invested a lot of resources on me so, switching allegiance is out of the issue, it is dead on arrival.

“In this CNS my 200mtrs breaststroke that I just got the record; I have tried in the past to equal or break the record but to no avail. I believe this achievement couldn’t have come without my exposure at the Olympics. At the Games in the 200mtrs breaststroke, I was in front of someone and before I knew it she was already ahead of me and I was struggling to catch up with them and it has really taught me a lesson. So, I acquired experience that I don’t think I will easily throw away. So the Rio Olympics has tremendous impact on me.”

•Photo shows star swimmer Rachael Tonjor.



Source Daily Sports

Posted December 2, 2016

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