The year 2020 has been strange for Murielle Ahouré. Almost no race for the 60-meter indoor world champion. And especially not the Tokyo Games, where the 33-year-old Ivorian scored the most important goal of his season, the dream of an Olympic medal. But Murielle Ahouré did not waste her time. She has just been appointed this week as the Unicef Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire in the continuity of the work for children that she had already started by starting her Foundation four years ago.
Murielle Ahouré, you have just been appointed Ambassador to Unicef in Côte d’Ivoire. Tell us the significance of this agreement for you?
It is a great honor to be appointed UNICEF’s Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire. I am committed to promoting the rights of children and girls so that they can be protected, and to encouraging a partnership between the Ministry of Education and sports. Promote sports and education for young girls in Côte d’Ivoire.
It’s something that completes a job, as the foundation you created four years ago is partly dedicated to children.?
Exactly! This is a case that is very dear to me. I do not want to run my whole life and I must be able to help the next generation, the next generation. There are so many girls who want to play sports to reach the top level but they do not have the means, they do not know how to do it. There is no infrastructure, there is not much for them. Through my sponsors, the partnership I signed with Unicef, the partnership between the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education, we can do something very concrete like sports studies.
You have long said that working for children is what matters most to you. Where does this call come from??
It really comes from my mother. She taught me the first lessons of life, love of neighbor, solidarity, giving of oneself. I thank my mother very much for inspiring me with this love for children.
You are planning your postal career, but you are still active. The season has been turned upside down this year by the health crisis. How you lived this year?
It’s a very difficult year for me and I think it’s the same for all athletes. We were all sorry, shocked. I also live in the US, in Miami, one of the cities most affected by Covid. We were restricted for several months, we could not train, we were scared. Now the most important thing is that life goes on, there are fewer cases and I took my first flight since the start of the crisis and it went well. Since February I had not been able to travel, today I returned to the Ivory Coast in October.
We imagine that you thought about going to the indoor world championships in Nanjing in March 2020 (editor’s note: postponed to March 2021) to defend your title as world champion in the 60m …
Oh no ! I would not do the World Cup indoors. I was just planning to do two indoor races to keep myself going, but I was really focused on the Olympics in Tokyo. I ran very little, but it’s a year to get back in shape and work more on things I miss. I had a few minor injuries last year, so the goal was to take care of the injuries, put more strength in my legs.
When the postponement of the Olympic Games was announced, a sportswoman like Clarisse Agbegnenou (French judoka) confessed to having cried. Many athletes have announced a kind of demobilization that they would not train at all. That was your case?
After the postponement, we all cried, we all became depressed. Me, I spent a few days in bed, it did not go so well. After all, everything God does is good. There is a reason for this delay. Of course I was affected by it, it was sad, but with the help of my coach, my manager, my family, I put things in perspective and I understood that there were other things in life. . So I decided to take this year to prepare myself even better, it also provides the opportunity to work on something else. It is only postponed, it is not as if it has been canceled.
You turned 33 this year, is postponing the Olympics for a year no more complicated for you than for the next generation??
Not to me. I have a very good team around me: my coach, my doctor, my physiotherapist, my masseurs, etc., we know how to prepare, we know how to be ready next year. There will be the Olympics, we hope everything will go well with Covid, we hope to be able to compete, travel. Because we who live in the USA cannot enter Europe for e.g. To do our treatments. It’s a little stressful. So I hope something will change in the coming months. If we can find a vaccine, we can travel so it does not become too stressful. I have been tested three times for Covid. I was always negative, so that’s okay.
Next year, it’s just the games, or it’s possible that if the program goes normally, we’ll see you in the indoor worlds, the African championships?
At the African Championships yes, at the indoor worlds, I do not know. I can not say yes. It all depends on the Covid situation.
Is Tokyo in your head every day now?
Of course ! I think about this every day. Every morning and every evening. I see the opening ceremony, the 100 meter race, the 200 meter race. I want to do the 100 and the 200, so I can not wait to stand up and represent Côte d’Ivoire.
Beyond 2021, there are Eugène Worlds in 2022 in the United States where you live. You plan to go that far?
Absolutely, I want to be there. After 2022 I will see. But for now, the focus is on 2021 and 2022. With, if possible, a turn on the podium at the Olympics …