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Ajunwa, who is currently an Assistant Commissioner of Police spoke exclusively with Sports Intelligence Magazine. The Olympic gold medalist said: " I am bothered that Nigeria have not won an Olympic gold 24 years after I won an Olympic gold”.
“But I believe strongly in prosperity”. “The left hand must was the hand and the right equally do same, then there will be progress” Ajunwa said.
“Presently, Nigeria has someone like me that won an Olympic gold on self-effort”. “They have not deemed it necessary to take care of me, my training and programmes, how then will I make an impact”?
“Nigeria have to take proper care of me, so that I can impact the knowledge to upcoming athletes”. “Remember, It is when you eat well that you can give out”.
Ajunwa also pointed that those managing sports in Nigeria have not helped the situation.
“We have a lot of deficiency on the part of those managing sports in Nigeria” Ajunwa continued. “They do not think of how to make tomorrow better”. “Majority of them are thinking of today only and not tomorrow”.
“If we think about developing sports tomorrow, we should be able to ask: "This lady that won Nigeria's only gold medal at the Olympics, where did she coming from”? Where exactly was she discovered from?
“I started from School sports, local government competition, state competitions”. “And that was when the Mobil championship was really alive”.
And then we had lots of athletes doing so well both within and outside Nigeria”. “We should be worried now as a nation and ask ourselves why we do not have at least 10 athletes representing Nigeria”.
Other nations maintain their hype, but Nigeria diminish and, no one is bothered about that" Ajunwa fumed. “Then how do I as an individual that won the Olympic gold and has been abandoned raise the money to train athletes for this nation”.
“It is not possible my brother” Ajunwa insisted. “I have a foundation called the Chioma Ajunwa Foundation, but Nigeria never helped me to ensure we work with it and impact knowledge on upcoming athletes”.
Ajunwa further noted that our system is yet to engage ex-internationals and this is necessary if we must make headway.
“Nigeria should also remember that we have retired athletes who did the nation proud during their hey days”. “The likes of Fatimah Yusuf, Charity Opara, Falilat Ogunkoya” and others”
“All these names did their best to take Nigeria to the limelight, but the Federal Government has abandoned them”. “Those managing sports have not deemed it necessary to call these ex-internationals and give them a task by saying:
“Look, you were an accomplished track and field or long-jump athletes, produce three young athletes from your field”. “Ajunwa you did 100m, 200m and long-jump, can you produce two or three athletes from your event” .“Mary Onyali can you give us two or three athletes.
They have not done the right thing, everyone is interested in going up there then making money for themselves and not developing sports. “It’s a pity that 24 years after I won the Olympic gold, no one has come close to accomplishing such feat at the Olympics.
Possibility of Nigeria winning an Olympic Gold At Tokyo 2020 Olympics
On whether Nigeria could break the Olympics gold jinx at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Ajunwa said:
“I cannot really talk on that”, I am not involved and cannot tell about Nigeria’s level of preparedness”.
However, Nigeria can produce a dark horse who can do that like I did at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics”. Remember, no one ever talked about Chioma Ajunwa before I won the gold at Atlanta 1996 Olympics”. “It was after I won the gold that Nigerian government started talking about me”.
“Even if an athlete accomplish such task at the Tokyo Olympics next year". "it is going to be based on individual effort Ajunwa concluded.
On August 2, 1996 at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics Chioma Ajunwa leaped 7.12m to become the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event. Till date, No Nigerian has accomplished that task.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to 2021. Interestingly, it will be coinciding with Ajunwa's 25 years anniversary as a gold medalist. We await to see what plans the Federal Government will put in place in commemoration of the anniversary.