Over 100 young athletes are under the mentorship of Africa 400 meters record holder, Chief Falilat Ogunkoya in Ogun state.
Chief Falilat Ogunkoya told www.aclsports.com that Nigeria need to focus more on events like sprints, 400 meters and jumps in the athletics event
The Atlanta 1996 silver medallist urged the private sector to encourage Olympians and African champions who decide to give back to the society via organising tournaments or academies.
Ogunkoya said, “When an individual especially ex internationals start a project, most persons try to shy away and not wanting to key into their program for the fear of the unknown. Government cannot do it alone and we need the private sector needs to encourage some of us who are empowering the youth via sports.
It is very good for us to organise long distance events but I do not want us to abandon our area of speciality which is the sprints, hurdles, jumps and the relays. In the good old days, Nigeria was a King in the 100 meters, 400 meters, jumps and I want us to build that back.
The former African 400m Champion who is the initiator of Falilat Ogunkoya sports foundation based in Ogun state explained to www.aclsports.com that she is grooming athletes who will break her record that has stood for over 20 years.
Ogunkoya said, “One thing I want you to now is that when you take one youth out of a house to engage in sports and education, you have indirectly empowered the whole community. Another reason is for the younger generation to have a good future, combine sports and education together. I always tell them to take their education as their number one priority but when you marry it with sports you have a long way to go.
“Most persons ask me why no one has broken my 400 meters record that has stood for more than 20 years. This question spurred me to start the mentorship project and I believe some of the athletes will represent Nigeria and win medals for the country at the Olympics”.
Falilat Ogunkoya still holds the African record of 49.10m in the 400 meters.