Gina Akpe-Moses was born in 1999 in Nigeria but moved with her family to Dundalk when she was three years old, writes Arlene Harris.
Always a sporty child, the middle daughter of three joined St Gerard’s Athletics Club when she was aged eight and in the past decade has gone from strength to strength.
So much so that in July 2017, the Louth woman won the European Athletics Championship under 20s 100m title — making history for Ireland with the country’s first sprint medal in the Junior and Under 23s ranks.
Now studying applied science in Birmingham University in Britain, the 18-year-old, who is on course to potentially being the ‘fastest girl on the planet’ says being in top shape takes precedence in her life.
“Everything I do from diet to exercise and sleep patterns to relaxation is all involved in helping me to go as fast as I possibly can,” she says. “So I am always trying to ensure I stay in the best shape possible.”
What shape are you in?
I am in really good shape. During the course of the winter, with a new strength and conditioning coach and extra gym sessions, I’m sure that I’ve got stronger, achieved new personal bests in terms of lifting and overall I’m just feeling fitter.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I have a pretty basic diet, which is quite healthy. In the mornings I would have a big breakfast of something like scrambled eggs on toast with avocados and a smoothie on the side.
I do snack in between meals but it would be something healthy like almonds or raisins. Then for lunch I tend to have something like a burrito or a simple wrap while I’m at college.
For dinner, I also eat well and this would be something small and plain like chicken. I’d say my healthiest dietary habit is that I love green tea and drink it every day.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Meringues — they are my ultimate favourite food although I don’t have them very often — and really just confine them to a little treat once I’ve finished my indoor season.
What would keep you awake at night?
I sleep well most of the time so the only thing that would keep me awake at night is if I had an injury which I knew would have an effect on my performance.
I put put pressure on myself to be at my best at all times, so any injury would limit me from doing so.
How do you relax?
The best way for me to relax is pretty simple and involves either staying in bed and just watching movies or going out with my friends to have a bit of a laugh and wind down.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Hmm that’s a tough one because if I had a dream dinner party, I would like to invite a lot of people. But I’d especially make sure that Rihanna and Usain Bolt were invited because I love them and they both seem like they’re down to earth and enjoy having a good time — just like me.
What’s your favourite smell?
My favourite smell would probably be the smell of fajitas being made as I just love them. They smell so delicious and I get excited about the thought of eating them.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I wouldn’t really want to change anything about my appearance because I’ve learned to embrace who I am and I love every bit of it.
When is the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I hurt my knee and had to take training easier than I would normally want to — so it was frustrating.
What traits do you least like in others?
The thing I dislike the most in other people is probably when they are rude unnecessarily — this annoys me because being rude won’t get you anywhere in life. I don’t understand the point of it.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
The trait I dislike the most is the fact that I like to know everything and when this isn’t possible, I tend to overthink things and freak out a bit.
For example, if had the chance to know exactly what would happen in my life in 2018 I would take it because I feel like I need to know everything even though it’s not humanly impossible.
Do you pray?
Yes. I pray every day before I go to bed.
What would cheer up your day?
I would be pretty happy if I won an all-inclusive and expenses paid trip away to Barbados. That would definitely cheer me up because it is a free trip and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be cheered up by that.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved