Nigeria’s Chioma Ajunwa emerged winner of the women’s long jump category to the surprise of many, with a jump length of 7.12 metres (on her first attempt). With this feat, Ajunwa became the first Nigerian, and the first West African woman in history, to win an Olympic Gold medal in a track and field event.
Chioma’s success at the 1996 Games was recognized by the Nigerian government as she went on to be conferred a national award as a Member of the Niger (MON).
Ajunwa recounts the mood in the camp of Nigerian athletes at the Olympic Games on the night of August 2, 2019, the day she put her country on the global map:
I could not sleep. The whole Nigerian camp could not sleep. I cannot describe the feeling… Atlanta ’96 was a historic date for all of us.Chioma Ajunwa
In her illustrious career, Ajunwa was a star track and field athlete and specialized in the 100m, 200m, and long jump events. She also played football and was a member of the Super Falcons team in the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Part of her achievements includes wining bronze in the 4x100m relay at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. She also competed at the 1989 African Championships and went on to win gold medals at the All Africa Games in 1991.
Following the 50th Independence celebration of Nigeria in 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday, September 30, 2010, conferred special Golden Jubilee Independence Awards on 50 distinguished Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, including Ajunwa, for their role and exceptional contribution towards the growth and development of Nigeria as a nation.
Chioma Ajunwa presently works with the Nigerian Police Force, as an Assistant Commissioner of Police, and recently bagged a Masters Degree in April 2019 at the University of Lagos.
Featured Image Source: The Genius Media NG