Fastest man in Africa joins the Navy

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A former Nigerian sprinter, who is the holder of the African record at 100 metres, is among the latest recruits to qualify as a Royal Navy logistics specialist at HMS Raleigh.

Logistician (Supply Chain) Olusoji Fasuba joined the Royal Navy last May. After his 10-week initial naval training course, he transferred to the Defence Maritime Logistics School in October 2011 for his 12-week professional course and is now ready to take up his first posting within the logistics department at HM Naval Base Devonport.

The 27-year-old took up running from a young age. He became a champion in his teen years and was part of the Nigerian team that took the bronze medal in the 4 x 100m relay at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Fasuba won gold medals at the All African games in 2007 in both the 100 metres and as part of the 4 x 100m relay team. He also took the gold medal at the Indoor Championships at 60 metres in 2008. Fasuba achieved his personal 100m best of 9.85 seconds, and established a new African record for 100m at the Doha Grand Prix in 2006.

Able Seaman Fasuba at the head of his group completing a walk around the Rame Peninsular during his 10-week initial naval training course
Able Seaman Fasuba at the head of his group completing a walk around the Rame Peninsular during his 10-week initial naval training course [Picture: Dave Sherfield, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

Looking for a more settled life for himself and his wife, Ngozi, a fellow athlete, and daughter, Annabelle, aged seven months, Fasuba decided to hang up his track shoes for a career in the Royal Navy.

Now living in Plymouth with his family, Fasuba 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, who has been nicknamed ‘Flash’ by his fellow trainees, was appointed to the role of Class Leader. He played for HMS 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. He said:

At Tal-y-bont I was able to do things I would never have dreamed of doing, like mountain climbing and a 14-kilometre walk over an 800-metre-high mountain. I also survived on ration packs for five days, which was fun.

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 60m World indoor championships for Nigeria, and win the title for Britain.

Fasuba has been training at weekends in Plymouth, where he has been giving running tips to the younger generation.

On the sporting front, his 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. Fasuba 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.

British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are eligible to join the Royal Navy or Royal Marines. Details of career opportunities within the Royal Navy are available at the Royal Navy website.