Why Africa’s Fastest Man, Fasuba, Quit Athletics and Nigeria for British Navy

Written by O'News Blog

Olusoji Fasuba hails from Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, South West Nigeria and his mother is Jamaican.

He is the current African record holder in the 100m with 9.85 seconds, thus making him the fastest African of all time.
His dream was to be the fastest runner in the world and did represent Nigeria at the Athens Olympics in 2004 in Greece, winning the bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay.
He was so fast as a kid that secondary schools around Sapele and it’s environ asked him to compete for them.
Fasuba continued his studies at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife but found the work difficult. Lecturers openly mocked and discouraged him.
Encouraged by his mother, he decided to leave the education system in favour of athletics, his foremost passion.
In 2011 Olusoji joined the Royal Navy applying through the Royal Navy Careers Office in Oxford, and embarked on a career as Logistician (Supply Chain) Rating.
He hopes to continue with athletics as a hobby and compete for the Royal Navy.
“Before I retired and gave up on Nigeria, I kept on lamenting about the fact that Nigeria was not focusing on the younger ones coming up and were only ready to focus on the athlete when they start winning which to me spelled doom”.
“As I speak, my ticket money for the national champioship has not been paid and i was promised that it will be paid in Osaka which never happened. We had no kits to run with and there was fear i could be disqualified as i had only my adidas kit with me”.
“I believed I had acheived a lot with very little support and as an upcoming athlete, I believed that I didn’t need to wait for the country to support me and that if I get to the top, maybe the support will come and I will go as far as I know I can do.”
“…that never happened and got injured in 2008, the AFN didn’t check on me except late Sunday Bada. I lost faith in Nigeria. In 2010 I realised that i had to start making plans for my family and I couldnt let my kids go through what I went through”
“…so I decided to position myself where I would give my kids a better future hence I joined the British Navy.
My wife got injured after the 2004 Athens Olympics. Her meniscus in her right knee was damaged and needed an operation which we didn’t want.”
“…she worked hard with the pain and came for the trials, made the final and placed 6 and they took 5 people, if she placed 5th they take 4, the officials knew the reason for doing this. So we decided to raise our family, we both decided not to look back.
“My coach could not always get accreditation to the games even though I had to pay his ticket to all my games with no support.
I was always fighting to get my ticket money after I paid my way to the national trials.”
“When I got injured, I was asked to send receipts only to be told by my informant that they had released money but it never got to me even after asking. And I remember speaking with Dr Amos Adamu on funding me for the Olympics after I won the Indoor, nothing happened after making plenty trips at my own expenses to Abuja.
When I won the Commonwealth Games silver, no one stayed with me to do the doping test even after they called the games village which resulted in me staying there till almost 2am.
“There are lots more and thinking about them only brings back unwanted memories. Imagine when I won the commonwealth games silver, I was given a flag which I celebrated with, and the 3 medalists were picked to have a dope test.
“The officials of the other 2 athletes were there, I was there by myself. My coach did not have the pass to come into the stadium. I remember Asafa Powell jokinly saying to me, “where’s your officials, seems they dont like you”. I just smiled and said they were on their way.
“I waited four hours and had to tell the official that I can’t hold it any longer as I have been there on my own had drank loads of water. They informed me that they called the games village and they promised to send some one and no one ever turned up.
“I then walked up to him about 1am that am going to pee on myself as it was ridiculous that I cant wait. They had no choice than to do it there with no official. I was fuming when I got back as only my coach and Endurance Ojokolo were waiting for me.
“They calmed me down because I was going to wake everybody up as I was furious.
“So when it was time to make that retirement decision, I didn’t feel any pain because of the way I was treated. I was already sad with the treatment and failed promises.
“I don’t think I could stomach any more promises or being underpaid in competitions. 
“I don’t have any other employment as my job as a sailor is tasking at times although I do intend to go into the medical line (preferably physiotherapy) when am done serving.
“I believe I can assist Nigeria in an advisory role is best suited for me and something i will like to do if given the chance as people who are close to me know that I can be blunt when it matters because I know the pain the athletes are going through.”
At the beginning: “when I got scouted by my first manager, thanks to Chief Tony Osheku, little did I know that my world was going to change. The day before my first indoor, I panicked as then I didn’t even know what an indoor track looked like.
“…and I remembered sleeping before the race and I fell off the bed. My room mate then told me that as soon as I fell, I sat up and started planning my race and when I was done, I went back to bed.
“I never remembered doing that but I won’t be surprised its true because my wife says before most races I talk in my sleep how I am going to execute my race.”
Carl Lewis challenge
“I school I was multitalented and excelled at most events and other sports except the middle and long distance races. at the age of 7, I watched Carl Lewis run and I remember walking up to my mum and telling her that i was faster than him.
“In 1998 I was taken to the stadium by coach chinedu (coach kawawa) and that was the first time I lost a 100m race. I remembered crying home and told my mum that I can believe it that somebody was faster than me, but he had trained for 8 years and close to making d national team.
“My parents supported me and didn’t pressure me and I gave up 2 months after I started. January 1st 1999, I decided that I wont quit again till i have achieved all I can possibly achieve and i will train more than anybody.
“…so I asked the coach how many times they trained other athletes and I was told twice a day. I then decided to train 3 times a day and it paid off then. The rest is history.”
Fasuba is the first child of Olumide and Evelyn Fasuba, and has a younger brother (Kayode) and a younger sister (Yinka).
He met Ngozi Nwokocha, a 400 metres runner, at his first national athletics training camp in 2003 and they are now married with kids.

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