Ghana swimmer Abeiku Jackson has described the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity in disguise to improve.
In 2016, the 20-year-old became the first ever male swimmer to represent Ghana at the Olympic games.
He competed in the 50 meter freestyle posing a time of 24.30 which was his personal best.
Despite finishing 55th in his race, the objective after the competition was to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
During the 7th African Zone Swimming Championship held at the Bukom International Pool this year, Jackson came closest to meeting the required time for Olympic qualification but his mark of 0.22.92 seconds in the men’s 50 meters freestyle was not enough to meet the qualifying time of 0.22.01 seconds and the standard time of 0.22.67 seconds.
Ghana’s team captain had a second chance at Olympics qualification as he was preparing for the National Swimming Championship which was slated to take place in Durban, South Africa from April 16-23.
Unfortunately, the competition was suspended due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
With the Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Tokyo now moved to 2021, Jackson essentially has a year to chop of 0.3 seconds from his 50 meter freestyle time to be at the competition.
“I could say the coronavirus is a blessing. Getting a whole year to drop 0.3 of a second is a blessing for me. But then at the same time, with the training that went on for six months, I think not being to participate in the Olympics this year has been really sad for me. But, we know with due time, we will still get our chance,” he told Joy Sports.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jackson recorded a time of 24.30 seconds for 50 meter freestyle. Four years later and his time is now 22.92 seconds.
Essentially, he chopped off 1.38 seconds in four years. That’s reducing his time by 0.345 seconds per year.
With 0.3 seconds standing between Abeiku and the Tokyo Olympics, an extra year could indeed be a blessing.
He speaks of his future plans are and what his target for the next Olympic Games is.
“My aim is just to qualify early enough before next year so I can go out there and raise my country’s flag high.”
Abeiku Jackson will be resuming training soon with government easing the restriction on non-contact sports.