By Patrick Omorodion
As Nigerians peruse the list of the countryâ€™s contingent toÂ Â this monthâ€™s IAAF World Championship in Berlin and await
their preparation, one company excited by the recent NNPC/Mobil Track and Field Championships held at the Abuja National Stadium is G4S, an international security company with a world wide base, including Nigeria.
The company through their Lagos representative, Mrs Angela Nduagu, someone who could described as Nigeriaâ€™s fastest man, Obinna Metuâ€™s chaperon, had their ears on the ground to know whether their client, Metu would again pull the stunt that endeared him to the company about two years ago.
When news filtered in that Metu, a Business Management undergraduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, had won both the 100m and 200m events at the championships, Mrs Nduaguâ€™s joy knew no bounds when she called to speak with this reporter. The excitement was great as Metuâ€™s feat made him the first sprinter in the country to have won the menâ€™s sprint double in the NNPC/Mobil championships and defended it.
To G4S, their resolve to pick Metu as one of the 14 young aspiring athletes around the world (they are mentored by the legendary long-distance runner and G4S global ambassador, Haile Gebrselassie) who they are supporting to Olympian heights, is not misplaced after all.
Though his personal best (PB) in the 100m is 10.16 secs achieved in Leverkusen, Germany in 2008, he won the Abuja meet in a time of 10.27 seconds while he took the 200m in 20.57 secs, better than the 20.62 secs and 20.65 secs he ran at last yearâ€™s Beijing Olympic Games.
Even before the NNPC/Mobil Championships in Abuja, G4S were already expecting Metu to improve on his PB in Berlin when they wrote in the Issue 2 of their G4S International quarterly magazine that â€œHe(Metu) will be attempting to improve on that later this year when he returns to Germany in August for the World Championships in Athletics.â€
Already the All African Games 4x100m relay gold medallist has called on the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and National Sports Commission (NSC) to begin early preparation for the Berlin Championships as that is the only panacea to a respectable performance.
Profiling Metu in their current magazine, G4S wroteÂ that â€œIn the sixÂ Â years he began running competitively, 20-year-old Nigerian Obinna Metu has shown he is a sprinter with tremendous promise.â€
Though Metu did not go beyond the second Heat of the 100m at the Beijing Olympics where he ran10.34 secs in Heat 1 and 10.29 secs in Heat 2, his sponsors, G4S, believe that if he makes his second Olympic appearance in London in 2012, he could achieve his dream to become an Olympic gold medallist.
â€œNaturally, his ambition is to become an Olympic gold medalist and he believes Haile Gebrselassieâ€™s mentoring will help him achieve that goal,â€ G4S wrote in their magazine. Corroborating G4S on Gebrselasieâ€™s impact on him, Metu told the magazine that â€œHe (Gebrselassie) has taught me that, no mater what failures may occur, they are just like stepping stones to a better achievement.â€
Metu was part of four young African athletes picked by G4S for a 3-day training camp with the Ethiopian legend in Nairobi, Kenya in January this year. Gebrselassie described Metu during the camp as a bundle of talent who has a very bright future because â€œhe is ready to learn.â€ The Ethiopian had called on indigenous African companies to emulate what G4S is doing by supporting the continentâ€™s bright athletes so that they can achieve great heights in their various fields.
For now in Nigeria, no company has taken that challenge as the best they do is promotion to help them advertorially though the NSC has taken the campaign on the need to support in the development of Nigerian athletes to them.