First Women

FIRST WOMEN: First Nigerian Woman Olympic Gold Medalist

chioma

She is the first African woman, as well as the first Nigerian, to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event.

She performed this historic feat of winning an Olympic gold medal on Friday, August 2, 1996. On that day, she jumped 7.12 metres at a long jump event in the 1996 Atlanta games.

Before becoming an athlete, she played football with the female football team – “Angels”. She also played with the female national football team – The Super Falcons. After a while, she transitioned to athletics.

In an interview with Sun Newspaper, Chioma Ajunwa spoke about her expectations at the Olympic events in the year 1996- “I never even thought of winning any medal not to talk of gold”. When she least expected it, the rewards of hard work found her.

Chioma Ajunwa once said that she wanted to be a mechanic but her mother refused- “I would have been the first woman to become a mechanic if not in Nigeria but at least in my village. I went to buy an overall, and I was ready to go to Aba to enrol at a mechanic workshop as an apprentice.”

Following her Olympic gold medal win at Atlanta’96, she was given a national award – Member of the Order of Niger (MON). She also holds a Community Chieftaincy Title in Imo State. In 2010 she was conferred a special Golden Jubilee Independence Awards for her contribution to the development of the country. In 2011 she was the Chairperson of the Women’s Development Committee of Imo State Football Association. In the same year she was a member of Committee on the Revival of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Competitions.

The historic Olympian has since joined the Nigerian Police Force where she has continued to climb up the ladder. In 2012 she welcomed a lovely set of triplets after 8 and ½ years of marriage.

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