Retired athletics coach Alaba Ogunde has claimed that she was the one who discovered world record holder, Tobi Amusan.
Amusan set a new record in women’s 100m hurdles at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States where she clocked 12.12 seconds in the semifinal. She went on to win gold in the final.
The 25-year-old ran a blistering 12.30secs to claim the gold medal and also set a new record at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Speaking with PUNCH, Mrs Ogunde who was then a member of staff of the Ogun State Sports Council disclosed that she met young Amusan when she was posted to Ijebu-Ode in 2005.
Noting that she was mandated to cover both rural and Urban areas after her transfer to Ijebu-Ode Sports Council, the retired coach said, “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.”
The 68-year-old also stated that Amusan was part of her success story, as she mentored her before Amusan’s youth coach, Ayodele Solaja, took over.
She noted that due to her many responsibilities she merged her athletes with those under Solaja.
Days after Amusan broke the world record, Solaja said he discovered her, adding that he did not think she was going to achieve a world record title.