By Kuti Dare
Fatimat Yusuf-Olukoju has promised to take athletics to the next level in the state after being appointed chairperson of Kogi State Athletics Association by the state government.
The Atlanta 1996 silver medallist, who hails from the Kogi Central Senatorial District was handed a letter of appointment during the week, which was confirmed by the state Director of Sports, Sunday Daku.
The appointment of the 48-year-old takes immediate effect and she replaces retired Director of Sports of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ayodele Titus.
During her active days in the sport, Yusuf-Olukoju was part of the quartet, including Bisi Afolabi, Charity Opara and Falilat Ogunkoya that competed for Nigeria to win silver medal, finishing behind host nation America in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, United States.
She also held some continental records which remain to be broken as being the first African woman to run under 50 secs in the 400 meters and also ran 49.43 at the 1995 African Championship.
Following her exploits, the former Nigerian athletic legend is delighted with her new role and shares her vision to help the state unearth and development of the next generation of athletes.
“This is an opportunity to give back to my community and state,” Yusuf-Olukoju told ACL Sports.
“I believe in teamwork and I am ready to share ideas that will move athletics forward in the state.
“I am currently assessing the current status of athletics in Kogi. We definitely need to build a working system and engage our youths.
“One of the most successful male athletes, Sunday Bada hailed from Kogi state. He took the name of the state global and other athletes from Kogi includes Yinka Ajayi, Kemi Francis, Ronke Olumudi and a host of others.
“We have a long term target to unearth athletes who will continue with the legacies some of us laid down”, she concluded.