By Ben Efe
Sunday Bada no doubt, will forever be in the minds of Nigeria athletics buffs. He achieved significant milestones that cannot be ignored.
Before he died suddenly on Monday at 42, Bada was beginning to establish himself as an astute sports administrator, technically speaking. No meeting of athletics officials was complete without his presence and it was no surprise he shared his last moments on earth with the people that mattered in Nigerian athletics.
As his remains lie cold in the confines of death and his spirit soar above, his only wish was that Nigeria’s track and field returns to the glorious days, when he and his contemporaries shone like true stars in local and international contests.
During his time there was class categorization of athletes between the lines of home-based and US based. Bada was one home-based athlete who depended on his home-grown talent to rival great athletes like Innocent Egbunike.
Bada was a never-say-die athlete, he dominated the 400m for seven consecutive years, his best year was in 2000 when he was considered finished by many, but he made a strong finish at the National championships, beating Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye and Enefiok Udo-Obong who were rated above him.
Together, they went on to the Sydney 2000 Olympics to win silver, which was later elevated to gold by the International Olympic Committee.
Nostalgically Bada had always looked back to those days. And repeatedly he spoke of the need for Nigeria to reinvent athletics.
“Our athletics is down because we simply have failed to do the things we did, to produce stars in the past.
“During our days all the potentials were given all the motivation to succeed. There at the Games Village Lagos, there was all kinds of food for us to eat after training and we even took home some of the provisions after camping.
“But now there is nothing like that. Most of our athletes are hungry, they cannot afford to pay for their training, they have nothing to develop themselves to become great stars. I can only wish that we begin to look at putting in place the structures that produced great athletes for the country in the past,” Bada stated.