The ancient city of Akure may produce more world beaters in the years ahead as Asia’s fastest man, Femi Ogunode, midweek held his maiden athletics challenge targeted at unearthing new talents for the country.
Dubbed the Femi Seun Ogunode Foundation Athletic Challenge, the event attracted young athletes from the length and breadth of Nigeria to the Federal University of Technology, FUTA, Sports Complex in Akure, Ondo State, to exhibit their potentials as well as jostle for the mouth-watering prizes donated by the sprint star.
Mr. Ogunode, who now competes in the colours of the United Arab Emirates, recounted that his journey to stardom as an athlete began from Akure and he thought it wise to return to his humble past to give back to the society that produced him.
“My story as an athlete is incomplete without Akure. This is where it all started for me,” the now internationally acclaimed track and field star with a long list of honours and records told PREMIUM TIMES.
“My dream has always been to give back to my society and help others achieve their dream in life, even though I could not meet my goals as an aspiring athlete while I was here in Nigeria, I am ready to help the people behind me in every way I can,” Mr. Ogunode stated.
Mr. Ogunode said he would ensure that the new Athletics Challenge would not be a one off and would even be expanded to make it bigger in the years ahead.
“I am not stopping at just this Athletics Challenge, I have other plans I will be unfolding in the days ahead, I am grateful to God for putting me in a place to help others,” Mr. Ogunode concluded.
The participants at the one-day meet in Akure were full of praises to the organisers and for Mr. Ogunode who thought it wise to plough back his resources to help others.
One of the top performers, Omotayo Abolaji, who won the 100m and 200m event for the female category said the chance meeting with the Asian sprint king had further encouraged her to work harder to reach the top.
“He (Ogunode) is a shining example that we should never give up even if we face challenges early in life, I am happy with my double victory here in Akure; I pray god to continue to bless him, I hope other big stars will follow his example and do more to help the upcoming ones” Ms. Omotayo submitted.