NIGERIA’S SUPER ATHLETE: How Chioma Ajunwa Beat the Legends at Centenary

 You wouldn’t automatically think of it this way, but we have this idea that the Ministry of Youth and Sports should do more to keep records of Nigeria’s Sports legends and Super heroes, so that authors could pen them down in such a manner that it would interest our children to read and get inspired.

The truth is this; our generation next needs role models that would inspire them for greater achievements.

Of course, in the hundred years of our amalgamation as a country Nigeria, there have been huge successes as well as painful failures in our sporting history. There are quite a lot of interesting stories that needed to be told.

Several athletes have emerged over the period and did so much to uplift our dear country among the world committee of nations. But this article aim to select that one athlete that had done much more in a country of over 160 million people.

In trying to select who could be Nigeria’s Super Athlete for the period of our centenary, what may quickly run through your mind could be such wrestling heroes like Power Mike or Ben Lion Heart. Or perhaps, such boxing legends like Dike Tiger and Hogan Bassey. We’ve had some extraordinary athletes like Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun; Emmanuel Okalla; Nwankwo Kanu… who also did the country proud in football.

However, a Super Athlete is someone who has excelled in different sports. In this case, we are looking at a Nigerian Athlete who had successfully represented the country in different sports over the years.

Such Athlete like Mary Onyali may come to your mind. Onyali was Nigeria’s track and field queen for over a decade or so. She represented Nigeria in the 100 meters; 200 meters; the relays and Long jump. She won a lot of medals for the country,  both in All African games; Commonwealth games; the Olympics …

Today, Blessing Okagbare is doing the same thing in grand style; carrying the whole county on her tender shoulders. These two athletes have had an outstanding contribution over our centenary, but not as incredible as Chioma Ajunwa.

Chioma Ajunwa started off as a footballer. She played for the Nigeria women national team and was in the Falcon’s team that represented Nigeria in the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Ajunwa was also a track and field star. She specialized in events like 100 meters, 200 meters and the long jump. She represented Nigeria in the African Championship in 1989; All Africa games in 1991, where she won gold medal in long jump and the relay.

Ajunwa went on to become the first Nigerian to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event. She won gold in the long jump event at the Olympics game in Atlanta USA 1996 – with a jump length of 7.12 meters.

The Story of Chioma Ajunwa
Something you may want to know about this extraordinary athlete. It may not surprise you that Chioma grew up among seven boys as the last born in a family of nine.

She lost her father early and was trained in a post-civil war hardship at Ahazu Mbaise in Eastern Nigeria. Chioma grew up to be what you may describe as a ‘tom boy’ with a very strong athletic in-built.

Jude Ajunwa, her leader brother said that during her school days, she competed mostly with boys and often beat them up in fights. Chioma was stronger than most boys of her peers. It may surprise you to know that Chioma even tried her hand as a motor mechanic. She later left the career due to our mother’s incessant disapproval.

Ajunwa was later recruited into the Police force due to her athletic prowess. While at the Police College, Ajunwa excelled in several sports. She became a black belt holder in Taekwondo and also a good Judoka.

Presently, Ajunwa has grown to a Commissioner of Police (CP) after she retired from active sports. She is our Super Athlete this Centenary.

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