Q&A with Yemi Ayeni
Junior All-American Yemi Ayeni, the defending ACC Champion in the discus, is also the school record holder in the event. He is a two-time IC4A Champion in the discus and recently won the event at the Virginia-Missouri Jefferson Dual, the first dual meet that the Cavaliers have competed in within at least the past 11 years. Over the summer, Ayeni competed for Nigeria at the All-African Games, finishing fourth in the discus.
This weekend, Ayeni will look to lead the Cavaliers in the Lou Onesty/Milton G. Abramson Invitational, hosted by Virginia on Friday and Saturday. The hammer throw will kick off the meet on Friday and 1:30. Ayeni and his teammates will open competition on Saturday with the discus at 9 a.m. Events on the track will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
QUESTION: What were your impressions of the past weekend’s dual meet? How did you feel you and the team performed?
AYENI: The dual meet was a wonderful success that was the result of hard work by the coaches from both schools. I felt the team performed at the highest level given that a large majority of the team participated in multiple events. Personally, I felt that I rose to the challenge in the shot put and had some trouble in the discus because of some minor technical problems. But overall I gave it the best I could.
QUESTION: How did you feel about the dual style meet? Do you prefer this to the invitational style? What are the advantages and disadvantages of participating in either type of meet?
AYENI: I really enjoyed the dual meet because it took me back to my high school days when most meets were conducted as duals. I wouldn’t say I feel more of an affinity towards duals over an invitational, rather I think it brings a new perspective to competition. The only difference between the two in my opinion is the level of intimacy achieved through competition between you and the other team.
QUESTION: With the performances you’ve had so far this season, what are your expectations for the remainder of the year?
AYENI: My expectations are arbitrary because they are fantasies. It is my action and performance that will get me through this year and not expectational daydreaming.
QUESTION: How did your exposure to the international circuit with your participation in the All-Africa games this summer affect your approach to this year’s season? With your great performance in this event, do you plan to continue participating in international competition?
AYENI: The All-African games were a wonderful experience and I was very happy to have been a part of them. Because it was my first international competition it opened my eyes to another sphere of the sport that I had never experienced, which was competing with some of the best discus throwers to have ever thrown. This has helped me tremendously this year because my competitive edge is sharper thanks to it. As far as continuing to compete internationally, I will continue to look forward to doing so because it provides the best competition in the world that I can compete against. It is an option few people ever get so I will go for it.
QUESTION: How does the fact that you’ve broken so many school records in the throws impact how you practice and perform? What drives you to push for even greater success?
AYENI: I believe I only have three records. But, I never approach meets thinking about breaking records. It’s more about trying to do better than I have in the past, which ultimately results in records being broken.