Sunday Bada died five years ago and TAIWO ALADEFA, an Olympian and one of the greatest sprint hurdlers Nigeria has ever produced pays tribute to the most decorated Nigerian athlete of all time and arguably the greatest quarter-miler of all time Sunday Olanrewaju Bada…

How things have changed my dear friend. What would have been the state of Nigeria’s athletics and how would you have handled several issues that have risen since your departure? I wonder.

Decembers always hold several meanings for everyone. It’s usually the festive season where everyone is up and about, getting ready for Xmas and rounding up the current year while preparing to embark on the coming year. For me it’s a reflective month and also the month of my birth. It’s also the month where we lost you, one of Nigeria’s sports heroes who was a national treasure, a great family man, an Olympic gold medalist, loved by so many far and wide, whom I called my brother and a great friend.
It’s been FIVE long years my friend. Lots of things have changed. Some for good and some for not so good.

The state of sports since your departure has not been the same.
As much as some genuine  and selfless people are trying their best to uphold Nigeria’s track and field virtues by encouraging youths and struggling athletes in need of different forms of assistance, everything is still not the same without you…  The crooked, wickedness, selfishness and exploitation of some in Nigeria’s track and field remains and it is constantly impeding the growth of the sport and discouraging the up and coming pools of talents Nigeria is blessed with. Talents are being wasted. The vacuum you left is still very huge. Your Nigerian sports family misses you a lot and to most of us whose life you touched positively, Decembers are never the same.

Sunday, Five years later, loss and inner pain still resides where there was once laughters, giggles at different jokes  amidst  hopes and planning better future for our sports and how our young people,  professional athletes and amazing talents from Nigeria will take the world by storm. As I’m writing this piece in memory of you, and remembering  your exuberant personality, giving, selflessness and in particular, your unparalleled passion for encouraging our home based athletes while instilling confidence in our people; I cannot help but wonder how bad things have suddenly become. I stand afar watching..

Though you’ve done your part and left this world very young.
We thank God for lives you touched. I wonder if I go back in time and tell stories to the athletes of today how the real making of champions started: With a passionate coach, group of starry eyes young dreamers from Ilorin with worn out sneakers, no money but big talks and dreams of being the best in the world realized by dedication and hard work training on sometimes empty stomachs, will they understand? I stood afar watching the state of sports in Nigeria today.

Though people die, what they stood for will never die.. Sunday Bada was not only a running pair of feet, he was also a very fit voice for all those who needed to be spoken on behalf of. He may be dead and long gone but the battles he fought are coming back again and we need to stand together and gather our energies to take the baton where he left of.
We  the athletes need to speak with one voice and be rid of the of the oppressing voice that is killing the dreams of our talented youths..
We the voice of the departed heroes need to encourage the  current youths of Nigerian sports to never give up and keep fighting on the track and on the field for the love of our Nation. Do everything within your power to uphold the name of our Nation despite the odds thrown at you with our current economy situations and proceed to be successful by tapping into your passion and not looking onto the monetary gains only.
We all need to speak with one voice to make Nigeria’s sports great again.. The labour of our heroes past like my dear colleague and friend must not be in vain… I remember you today Sunday Bada” as I always do everyday and pray that your soul keep resting peacefully with God.