Stuart Weir catches up with the Olympic fourth-placer ahead of her Diamond League opener in Doha
Cindy Ofili is getting ready to take on world record-holder, Kendra Harrison, and Olympic silver medallist, Nia Ali, among others in the 100m hurdles in the first Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha on Friday.
Having graduated in education at the University of Michigan, Ofili is now a full-time athlete and is enjoying the new lifestyle.
“I now have a lot more time to train,” she says. “Now I can pay attention to rehab and recovery and all those things I have to do to keep my body right and ready to compete.
“I can also pay more attention to nutrition, sleep and everything that comes with it. It is nice to be able to compete at a high level with track as my main focus having completed my degree.”
Based in Michigan, she trains with her older sister, British 100m hurdles record-holder Tiffany Porter, and her brother-in-law, Jeff.
With Jeff having just completed his PhD, Ofili is training with, as she puts it, “a family of doctors”.
Ofili had planned to have a full indoor season, including the Europeans in Belgrade, but picked up an injury. Recovery was slower than she had hoped but she is now firing on all cylinders. Training is going well and she is pleased to be in a supportive environment.
“Tiffany and Jeff are so great to be around,” she says. “They are an inspiration to me both on and off the track. I have never had the chance to train with Tiffany full-time before, so it is a new experience for both of us.”
Ofili made a big statement at the Olympics in Rio, coming fourth in 12.63 just two hundredths of a second behind USA’s bronze medallist Kristi Castlin in what she calls “a bittersweet moment”. But she took lots of positives from the experience.
“It was hard to just miss a medal but at the same time it showed me what I am capable of and showed I had the potential to compete against the best in the world,” Ofili says.
“There is no doubt in my mind that I am at the point where I am capable of competing at the highest level.
“Sometimes as athletes we tend not to believe in our abilities but now I realise that I am capable of doing what other people are doing. This year I want to have the same mentality only stronger.”
Another important focus for Ofili in 2017 is “enjoying the moment”.
“Everything is new for me,” she says. “I have had coach changes and training changes so I am trying to enjoy the moment without being stressed about things, just taking it day by day and really enjoying it.”
She comes across as a very level-headed athlete. Add that to her immense talent and there could be quite a number of moments in 2017 for Ofili to enjoy.
» The 2017 Diamond League series gets under way in Doha on Friday (May 5). A preview to the event can be found here