Twenty four years after she became the first Nigerian individual Olympic gold medalist, ex- Olympian Chioma Ajunwa Opara (MON) has expressed surprise that no Nigerian high jumper has broken her record and urged them to do more and create new record in the sport.
Ajunwa at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics jumped 7.12 meters to create history as the first Nigerian to win an individual Olympic gold medal. She was followed few days later by the ‘ Dream Team’ one which defeated Argentina 3-2 to make Nigeria the first African nation to win a gold medal in football event at the Olympics.
Reflecting on her achievement after more than two decades, she told journalists that she still sees the achievement as if it happened yesterday and that the memory will always be with her forever but was quick to add that she is disheartened that no Nigerian athlete has erased the record. “I remember the achievement as if it happened yesterday,” she said. “I will continue to live with the memory all the days of my life.
My only regret is that no Nigerian has broken that record and at times, I begin to ask myself whether the athletes are no longer there or the right things are not being done to produce more champions.”