Seye Ogunlewe is a Nigerian track and field sprinter who specialises in the 100 metres. He won the Irish Schools Championships in 2009 and 2010. Afterwards, he was encouraged to make it a profession. He believes God gave him the talent and his passion, hard work and pursuit placed him on the career path he’s on now.He was encouraged by his Dad to represent Nigeria and as a Nigerian himself, he decided to follow through. This interview reveals Seye’s journey and his perspective on winning.
– By Toyin Eleniyan
According to Seye, A lot of us are not fully educated on sports.“Sports is actually science and the more you learn, the better you become at your craft,” he stated when asked about how upcoming athletes can improve.
Sports As A Source of Empowerment
“The youth are the voice of Nigeria and our voices need to be heard. Nigeria’s population is made up of mostly the young people,” he stated.
Sports has been a source of empowerment to him because it has given him a big platform to voice his opinions and stand up for people who ordinarily would not be heard. For other athletes, he believes sports is for all and cuts across boundaries. To him, as long as you do well, you can change your life and impact your community.
“Like studying to be an Accountant or Lawyer, sports require you to study the right courses which a lot of universities abroad or online courses offer,” he stated.
He believes that achieving success in the industry requires a lot of investment just like capital in a business. There is a lot of money that goes into being an athlete, from spikes, coaching fees, supplements, travelling to races and track training. Nothing is free! Sports is a viable tool for economic growth. It is an important sector which needs heavy investment not only from the government but the private sector. They need to work hand in hand to grow the industry.
He further explained that sports roles in general are always high in demand. Different sports have different wage structures. For example, a football coach would get paid a lot more than an Athletics coach.
When asked about challenges in the industry, Seye stated that the country doesn’t have enough world class facilities with well run programmes that meet global standard as a lot of our athletes need to relocate to improve and our federations don’t set long term plans.
“Nigerian Athletes need financial support, facilities and corporates to back them. Like any profession, you work with your talent to get the rewards,” he further stated.
Seye hopes that other brands, asides UBA which has been very supporting, will come on board to support the vision of representing Nigeria on a global stage and winning medals.
Seye believes that the leaders in the industry should focus on funding the sports sector, building facilities and creating a robust system. “Nothing can be done overnight but If I were the Minister of Sports, I would ensure there is a grant scheme just like the National Lottery in the UK which allocates funds to different sectors including sports.”
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.