This Day (Lagos)

12 November 2012

Nigeria: Former Nigeria Track Star, Omagbemi, Dies At 81

One of Nigeria's foremost track and field stars and administrators, Jimmy Omagbemi, died Monday, aged 81 years.

Omagbemi, who has been living in the United States of America for several years now since retiring from the National Sports Commission (NSC), was confirmed dead from protracted illness by his former athlete son, Victor.

Although details of his burial arrangements remain sketchy Monday, there were speculations Monday night that the former track & field coach may be buried in America Tuesday.

Omagbemi had a podium finish at several major athletics championships. He placed second in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Game's 4×110 yards Relay (with the likes of Smart Akraka, Thomas Obi, and Victor Odofin). He was fifth in the 100 yards.

He was a member of Nigeria's team to both the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games in Rome and Tokyo respectively were he placed decently even if he did not make it to the podium.

President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Solomon Ogba, expressed his sadness at the death of the respected former athlete and administrator.

"We are deeply sad that Chief Omagbemi passed on now that we need his fatherly advice on how to reposition the country's track & field towards achieving success at future games," observed the AFN chief.

He promised that the AFN will be involved in whatever plan the family of the late Omagbemi have in place to give him a befitting burial.

Omagbemi's daughter in-law, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, was too much in a shock to speak on the late track & field icon Monday night.

Prodded, she muttered; "Only God knows when to take. He giveth and also taketh. Even if my father in-law had lived for 200 years, we still would have been sad that he is leaving us."

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