He came from an unknown country, though not to the extent that the country was
not listed or recognised by others. Rather, a country that had not been known to
produce any Olympic medallists before, unlike America or China where gold
medallists seem to be mass-produced on a daily basis.
Ngembele was poor. He
came from a small village in one of the deepest jungles in Africa but had made
his way to civilisation, mainly through his sheer curiosity and determination.
Ngembele started his
journey out of his village by simply running. He ran away from the comfort of
his hut just to find out how it would feel like if he were to have no home.
He soon found out that he had gotten lost, and had to live on wild berries
and rainwater while trying to avoid being preyed upon by larger animals. How he
managed to survive those sinister African jungle nights, no one knew, but he
soon ran his way out of the jungle and into a friendly town near the edge of the
jungle where he was promptly taken in as an adopted child to a certain family by
the name of Akonkwo, who could not resist the doe-eyed and chubby-cheeked boy of
Ngembele was thankful, for he was an orphan to begin with and since no one in
his native village would miss him, he settled down right away into the Akonkwo
family. The Akonkwo family, with their own
children to begin with, was big. Soon, Ngembele found out that he must outsmart,
outlearn, and outrun the boys in the family. They were full of mischief and the
only way was not to get mad but to get even.
Ngembele soon found himself always on the run. He had to run from his
brothers when they turned into bullies. He had to run fast to the dining table
to make sure that he had his share of food. He had to
run to his adopted parents for help when things got out of hand.
Ngembele practically had to run all the time. Soon, he realised that it was
easier for him to run than to walk. His physical self was perfect for it-tall
and lanky with strong muscular limbs. He found that it saved him time too. In a
nutshell, Ngembele stopped walking.
Ngembele was sent to school and it was in school that his natural talent for
running attracted the attention of Mr John White, an athletics coach. Whenever
Ngembele ran, a pair of eyes would follow suit. Soon, Ngembele was running for
the school's athlete meet and ran his way up to the national level.
Four years later, he found himself on a running track halfway across the
world in a foreign land. Still, when the gun was shot, he just ran. He ran to
the finishing line and broke the white ribbon. The stadium
broke into thunderous cheer. Ngembele looked up and frowned. He did not quite
understand the fuss. For him, he did not do anything special. What was the whole
fuss about? He had just run as hard as
he could, like what he had always done. Nothing special-not even when a certain
giant company that sold fizzy drinks offered him an endorsement deal worth
millions of dollars.