With the Olympics going on right now we have to go back in time to remember one of our own. Chioma Ajunwa-Opara was the first West-African woman, as well as Nigerian to bring home a gold medal from the Olympics in 1996. Born December 25, 1970, Chioma Ajunwa is a former athlete who specialized in Long Jump. She had initially suffered a setback in her first career choice as a footballer but returned in glorious fashion when she won the Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Till date, she is still the only individual Olympic Gold medalist in the country. She is currently serving in the Nigerian Police Force.
Chioma started off as a footballer and part of The Falcon’s during the Women’s World Cup in 1989. However she seldom played and was often benched. She left football and went into track and field where she emerged victorious. She also participated in the African Championships in 1989 and All African Games in 1991 where she won gold medals in the Long Jump.
Chioma has been recognized for her contributions to the development of the country although sadly, not as much as the men’s football team that also won gold medals in 1996 Olympics and were named Dream Team. Chioma Ajunwa is our Dream Woman and we’re extremely proud of all she has accomplished. In solidarity to all the Nigerians at the Olympics, we encourage you as you help to make our country proud.
Written by Nkem Ikeh