Sometimes in life, sad things do happen for good reasons. Certain events, full of disappointments at the initial stage could later turn to be harbinger of blessings and joy.

This exactly the story of a teenage athlete making waves at the ongoing National Youths Games in Ilorin, her name, Taofikat Sulaiman.

In 2017, a new secondary school competition tagged Lagelu FM Inter Secondary Schools Relay was initiated by the owner of Ibadan based radio station Lagelu FM, who also is a lover of grassroot sports, Chief Adebayo Akande and facilitated by the Southwest Zonal Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, Mr Femi Ajao.

The event was sponsored by Oyo State Governor, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, who was then an opposition politician.

However, what was initially a good news for many budding talents who saw the competition as an opportunity to show case their talents became a nightmare to some students of public secondary school students. This followed after the withdrawal of all public schools from the competition in compliant with the order which emanated from the State Ministry of Education.

A star is born, Taofikat Sulaimon

The withdrawal of public secondary schools from the athletic competition allegedly for political reasons dashed the hope of talented students of these schools to actualize their potentials.

One of those students affected by this political power play in sports administration was Taofikat Sulaiman, a young talented sprinter.

The kid wept bitterly as her dream of becoming an athletic star was about to fade. However, as fate would have it, Dr Friday Ogada, the Chairman, Oyo State Athletics Association came across little Taofikat at the entrance of the University of Ibadan Sports Complex where she was weeping profusely. That meeting became the turning point in her life.

After finding out the cause of her sadness, Dr Friday immediately transferred her from public school to his own school, Brightville College Akobo in Ibadan where she was offered scholarship to enable her combine sporting activities with academy. She was in Junior Secondary School (JSS 2) then.

Taofikat With Her Benefactor, Dr Friday Ogada, Oyo State Athletics Association Chairman

Taofikat was given all needed to excel. From her school fee been paid to free books to sponsored training and competitions, the young lady had her hope back to life.

She was later handed over to the state coaches for proper grooming and monitoring.

The result of her mentoring became evident four years later in Ilorin where the teenager won team Oyo’s first medal in athletics, a bronze medal won in 100m female race.

The disappointment of 2017 became a huge blessing on the October 18, 2021 at the 6th National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State where she won her first medal for Oyo State in a major National Competition.

Before her latest accomplishment, Taofikat had won many laurels for Brightville College within and outside the state in school competitions.
She was the centre of attraction in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Secondary School Relay Classic in Ado Ekiti 2019, where she shone like a shooting star.

That was the story of Taofikat Sulaiman, whose disappointment of 2017 has become a blessing today. A weeping girl of 2017 is a now a celebrated perennial medalist at Brightville College with a settled future.

However, the teenager is just on her way to stardom as her dream is to become an international athletics star.