Over the last several years, many athletes have dreamed of representing Team Canada at the Rio Olympics. Philip Osei had that dream and if all had gone right over the last year, he would have been competing there in the 400 metre dash.
Instead, everything went wrong.
Osei ran a personal best at the 2015 NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean) championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. His time of 45.23 seconds wasn’t just the best time he had ever run; it met the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.40. During the indoor season he found success, too, achieving personal bests in both the 400 metres and 60 metres.
However, as the season progressed, Osei suffered multiple injuries tearing his hamstring and labrum in his right hip. With rehab and treatments, he began to recover and slowly started to train again. He continued to sprint, but was unable to complete one race, and at the national trials in Edmonton, he was reluctant due to his injuries. He barely made the final, finishing in the eighth and final spot.
When the time for the final came, Osei finished third with a season-best of 46:41. To Osei, that top-three finish meant he was going to the Olympics.
But when Team Canada was announced, Osei was stunned to find that he wasn’t on the team.
Osei appealed to Athletics Canada to prove himself in one last race, but it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t going to Rio.
It was a decision that wasn’t easy to take, but Osei handled it well thanks to his faith and the help of spiritual mentors like Athletes in Action chaplain Herbie Kuhn, who had been working with several Canadian sprinters. “If I didn’t believe and I didn’t have a person like Herbie to come in and remind me of faith, remind me of the Word, I honestly would have been depressed.”
Osei might not have been invited to participate in the Olympics, but God invited him to learn more about who He is through the experience, and he grew because of it.
Osei believes that he has come out of this ordeal stronger, not just as an athlete, but as a Christian. “I still have my faith. It shows that my faith is real, it’s not just because I wanted something from God. You don’t just have faith because you want something.”
Will you encourage athletes with God’s Word when times get tough?
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