8 January 2013

Nigeria: Coach Erin Is Dead

Renowned Nigerian athletics coach, Samuel Akinyemi is dead. Coach Erin as Akinyemi was fondly called passed on to the great beyond at the State Hospital in Ado Ekiti Monday, a day after he was admitted for an undisclosed illness.

He was a respected track and field coach who discovered and nurtured to international stardom such athletic stars as Fatimah Yusuf who won the Commonwealth Games 400m gold as a virtual unknown in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand; Seun Ogunkoya, a former African 100m record holder regarded as one of the finest sprinters the continent has produced and Damola Osayomi who is on record as the third Nigerian woman to run in the 100m finals at the IAAF World Championships.

Osayomi, the reigning All Africa Games 100m queen described coach Erin as her 'second father' who nurtured her talent from obscurity to limelight.

"I woke up this morning (yesterday) with avery sad news to my soul that my grassroots coach, the man that brought me up in track and field, a coach like a father to me whom a lot of athletes think is my father, is no more.

"Coach Samuel Akinyemi a. k.a (Erin) is gone. May your gentle soul Rest in Peace, Coach Erin. You contributed a lot to my life. I will forever miss you my coach," wrote Osayomi on her Facebook wall Monday evening.

Former sprinter, Deji Aliu, described late Akinyemi as an icon.

"An icon is gone. Coach Erin, Rest in Peace," he wrote on his Facebook wall.

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