Two-time National Sports Festival beach volleyball champion, Francisca Ikhiede says Nigeria can make the podium in the beach volleyball event at the 2023 Africa Games in Ghana.
The pair of Priscilla Agara and Isabella Laju won the gold medal for Team Nigeria at the 2015 All African Games in Brazzaville, Congo.
Ikhiede revealed to www.aclsports.com that she wants to win more medals at local and international championships (both beach and indoor) in the 2023 volleyball season.
The three times President Beach Volleyball Cup Champion said, “In 2023, I will not relent in working hard because I want to make it to the podium at the 2023 African Games in Ghana; impossible is nothing. I do not see the North African as threats because I have played with pairs that are far better and exposed than the North African.
“I really want to win more championships this year both national and international. The trophies I could not win in the previous seasons, I want to win all this time around with my club (Nigeria Customs Service VC) and Nigeria. I see myself creating more records for Nigeria honestly.
The three times Gold medallist in the Camtel Beach Volleyball Championship said it feels great returning to the sand after missing the first edition of the National Beach Volleyball Tour.
She expressed delight at winning the gold medal at the 2022 National Sports Festival despite not having much playing time on the sand.
She said, “Returning back to beach volleyball feels so good because I have missed the sand. It has never been a difficult thing staying in shape because I keep myself fit all the time even without competitions. Even though I rest, I rest actively and above all, the intrinsic motivation keeps me going as well.
“Taking home the gold medal at the 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta State feels great. I feel so very thankful to God because he has been faithful despite missing the National Beach Volleyball Tour, I was able to prove I am still a force to reckon with in Nigeria and Africa”.
Ikhiede revealed that her husband is her greatest supporter and motivator.
She said, “My husband is my number one support system and I feel grateful and lucky for that. He is also a lover of sport so he knows what it means to keep the body alive through sports.
“There are times I feel tired to go for training but he is always available to put up words of encouragement to gear me up and perform more exploits.
Francisca Ikhiede is a three time gold medallist at the Camtel International Beach Volleyball Championship, three times President Beach Volleyball Cup Champion, two times National Sports Festival gold medallist, three times Best Server at the Nigeria Volleyball Premier League and Best Sever at the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) Zone 3 Championship.