Cameroon going for gold in Baku
Some of Cameroon's brightest prospects at the Islamic Solidarity Games say they are determined to do the country proud by getting their hands on as many medals as possible in Baku.
"I want to give the best possible account of myself and try to win the maximum number of medals," pledged Joëlle Sandrine Mbumi, who will be competing in the long jump and triple jump competitions.
The 30-year-old is quietly confident about Cameroon's chances. "We've had a very good preparation for these Islamic Solidarity Games," she said.
Mbumi secured silver medals in both of her disciplines at the 2016 African Championships, and also represented Cameroon in the triple jump at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Her personal bests of 14.16 metres (triple jump) and 6.42 metres (long jump) make her a strong candidate to land the country's first ever gold medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games, although she admits that the competition will be tough.
"The best athletes will be there," she insisted. "The girls that I am used to competing with, as well as the reigning African champion. It's going to be a huge challenge."
Sports Minister Bidoung Mkpatt has urged Cameroon's athletes to do their utmost to improve the country's disappointing record at the Solidarity Games, which stands at just two medals - a silver at the inaugural edition in Saudi Arabia in 2005, and a bronze at the third edition in Indonesia four years ago.
Weightlifter Nkoh Donald is among those hoping to answer the minister's call.
"I want to go home with a medal, with gold if it's possible," said the national champion, who will be participating in the 85-kilogram category.
"I have faith, and confidence in myself. Everyone in my country knows that I will try my best," he said.
Donald and Mbumi are both gearing up for their first participation in the Islamic Solidarity Games, as part of a 62-strong Cameroon delegation also competing in football, handball, wrestling and judo.
On Monday, the men's football team played out a goalless draw with hosts Azerbaijan in Group A, while the women's handball team were beaten 27-26 by the host nation in a preliminary round thriller on Tuesday.