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Nigerian athletics coaching legend, Tobias Igwe, popular as Toblow, is dead.

Information from his family revealed that the household name in the history of Nigerian athletics passed on after suffering from high blood pressure and stroke.

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Credited with discovering high profile successful Nigerian athletes such as two-time Olympics bronze-medalist, Mary Onyali, the Ezenwa brothers, Osmod and Davidson, Sunday Uti (first Nigerian to run sub-45 seconds in the 400m), Tony Osheku, and Airat Bakare, was also notable for converting Nigerian 400m hurdles record holder and 1987 IAAF World Championships finalist, Henry Amike, from being a handball player to track and field. Toblow also groomed and trained Nigeria’s first world champion in track and field, Tina Iheagwan.

In a condolence message, the Acting President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria’s (AFN) Acting President, Olamide George, expressed shock at the death of a man responsible for the geometrical successes of Nigerian athletics in the 1980s and 1990s.

This is devastating. We have lost a true transformer of talent. Coach Igwe was linked with many of the athletes who brought honour to Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s… It is on record he led the first Nigerian team to the IAAF World Junior Championships in Athens, Greece in 1986 to ninth position on the medals table with Nigeria emerging world champions in the women’s 100m (Tina Iheagwan) and 200m (Falilat Ogunkoya)


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Reacting to the sad news, Mary Onyali (former athlete and currently senior adviser on sports to the Minister for Youth and Sports Development) said she has been left heartbroken by the death of Toblow who she described as a ‘super great coach’.

Today marks yet another sad day in my life as I lost yet another dear person to my heart. Coach Tobias Igwe alias TOBLOW. This is the man who made me what I am today in sports and life in general.

My heart is so heavy as I write, but only God knows why you have to go now and we can’t question Him. You’ve run a great race on earth as an athlete, a SUPER GREAT COACH, and a Sports Administrator.



Guardian NG

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This article was first published on 21st December 2019


I am a Lion, I love to hit heights that seem impossible so I can motivate others and prove doubters wrong. For me, impossible is nothing. I'm open to learning and I love to read, travel and meet new faces.

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