Retired coach Alaba Ogunde has narrated how he discovered Tobi Amusan, the wonder girl making waves in the world of athletics.
He said he discovered the World Record holder while combing schools in rural areas in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
This is as he dismissed claims that Amusan was discovered by someone else.
“I saw several reports that Tobi was discovered by someone else, but I want to make it clear that I was the one who discovered her,” Ogunde told The PUNCH.
“In 2004 I was transferred to Ijebu Ode sports council from the headquarters in Abeokuta. I was mandated to cover all areas, including the rural and the urban areas, and I visit almost all the schools back then.
“In the course of moving around, I discovered so many talents and Tobi was one of them. I also discovered Omotola Kuku and the mentor of Tobi herself, Biola Onakoya, who was a 400m runner and so many others.
“No doubt, one person cannot train a child, but I was the one who noticed that Amusan had what it took to become a future champion.
“She was a student of Our Ladies of Apostle in Ijebu Ode and the Games Master then was Adeyemi, though I cannot remember his other name and Dr Adetoye Alatise was the Chairman of Ijebu Ode Local Government Area, though he is now the Oba of Ososa Ijebu, he supported our course for the development of young talents.
“We had an U-15 athletics competition in Ogun State and my team won it for two consecutive times before being dethroned by Ilaro and Tobi was part of my success story.”
Ogunde added, “I was the head athletics coach in Ijebu Ode back then, and I had so many responsibilities and people around me. We do have trials, inter-house sports and so many other events and I had to hand over the supervision to one of the trainers known as Charlie Baba. He was an apprentice under Ayodele Solaja back then.
“He was the one that suggested that we merged them all with the athletes under Solaja and Tobi was very good in 100m, 200m, high jump and long jump. The truth is whoever is good in all these fields can easily cope with participating in 100m hurdles, as we saw with Chioma Ajunwa.
“The mentorship has been there before she even met Solaja, but he continued with their development.”