News

Fastest man in Africa begins new career in the Navy
13 February 2012

The fastest man in Africa – and the 10th fastest man in history – has swapped the track for the deck of Her Majesty’s warships.

Olympic medallist and African 100m record holder Olusoji Fasuba has completed his training as a logistics specialist with the Royal Navy at HMS Raleigh.

An instructor helps Olusoji through the cold waters of Pier Cellars during an adventurous training exercise. Pictures: Dave Sherfield, HMS Raleigh

ONE of the fastest men on earth has hung up his running shoes – and joined the Royal Navy as a junior sailor.

Nigerian sprinter Olusoji Fasuba – the African 100m record holder, Olympic bronze medallist, indoor 60m world champion – has swapped the track for life as a logistics expert.

The 27-year-old has just completed nine months of training at HMS Raleigh at Torpoint and is now ready to take up his first posting in the logistics department across the water in Devonport naval base.

Olusoji – nicknamed Flash by his shipmates – was looking for a more settled life for his family – wife Ngozi, a fellow athlete, and daughter Annabelle, aged seven months.

Last May he walked through the gates of HMS Raleigh to begin training as a Logistician (Supply Chain) – and on Friday walked out, training complete.

On the run – with a gun. The sprinter and fellow trainees practise SA80 drills

Before hanging up his running shoes, the sprinter won bronze medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2004 Athens Olympics, golds in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2007 All-African Games, gold at the 2008 indoor championships at 60min. And in 2006, Flash set an African record in the 100m – 9.85 seconds, just 0.27 of a second slower than the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt – at the Doha Grand Prix.

Now living in Plymouth with his family the young sailor said: "I've had a very good career in athletics and been there with the big boys, but I was looking to the future and wanted to settle.

“My father used to work for the Nigerian Navy, so from a young age it was all about the Navy. Some of my friends are serving in the British Army and tried to persuade me to join, but for me it had to be the Royal Navy.

“Training has been my way of life for a long time. Growing up in Nigeria discipline is very strict, so that aspect of being in the Navy wasn't really a shock to me. It was tough mentally sometimes and I did question myself about what I was doing, but ultimately I wanted to do it for myself and my family."

During his specialist training Fasuba was appointed the role of class leader. He played for Raleigh's football team and lists a week's leadership training at Tal-y-bont in Wales as one of the highlights of his course.

Olusoji leads shipmates on an orienteering exercise around the Rame Peninsula

In his new role Fasuba will be responsible for ensuring that his unit has everything it needs to operate, ordering and storing millions of pounds worth of equipment, from engineering parts to stationery.

He said: "All my life has been about sport, so I wanted to try something different. We were under a lot of pressure to learn a lot during our specialist training and I surprised myself in being able to understand it all.

“In this job I'll be working in an office or a storeroom and I'll be able to keep my athletics as a hobby. I'm excited about my first posting as I've never had what you would call a regular job and I'm looking forward to actually working in a stores department."

For the future Fasuba is hoping to complete a full career in the Royal Navy and maybe transfer to the Officer Corps at some stage.

He is keen to apply for British citizenship and although his priority is his new career and his family, he hopes one day to equal his feat of winning the 60-metre world indoor championships for Nigeria by taking the title for Britain.

The junior sailor has been training at weekends in Plymouth where he has been giving running tips to the younger generation.

Elsewhere on the sporting front, Olusoji latest goal is to become a member of the Royal Navy bobsleigh team and he will soon be travelling to Austria for his first try out at the Inter-Service games.

Olusoji said: “As soon as I saw the film Cool Runnings, I thought: ‘I could do that.’ I've never done it before and I may not like it so I need to build my love for the sport and I've given myself five chances to see how things go.

“I've looked at the statistics and I know I can do it. My ambition is to represent Britain at bobsleigh at a Winter Olympics."