Nigeria won her first medal at the ongoing Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina through Rosemary Chukwuma, who sped to the 100m title on Day 5 of Athletics at the Youth Olympic Park.
Chukwuma’s victory didn’t come as a surprise hugely, entering the Games as the fastest in the field in the age group, accompanied by wealth of experience at senior level this year.
However, her Stage1 performance didn’t truly reflect these, after winning her Heat in 12.03s, a far cry from her Personal best of 11.40s, which saw her time close third best overall at the end of the Stage.
Coming back to the second stage and with hunger for a medal, the sprints sensation did so on a record breaking note, winning in a fast 11.17s, a time that would have been a Games record if not for the 3.3m/s excessive wind.
This time catapults her to the top as the fastest home based female athlete under any conditions in 2018, and Nigeria’s second 100m Olympic Champion at the games, after Josephine Omaka did it in 2010.
Speaking to IAAF after her race, a relieved Chukwuma said “I had to do it. My people were watching and they had told me I had to win, because Nigeria had not won any medals. Thank God I did.”
Chukwuma’s rise to athletics stardom began three years ago, when she was discovered at the Kids and Play NGO Athletics trials in Abuja.
She began professional training in 2016 under the guidance of the NGO, with year 2017 being her breakout year at National youth level. She became 2017 Double Sprints National Champion, as well as adding National Youth Games 200m title.
This year she’s ran jaw dropping times at her young age, while adding youth, junior and senior continental and international medals to her increasing shining collections.
The Ebonyi State native, anchored the women’s 4x100m team to Commonwealth Bronze and African Championship Gold medals respectively, won 100m Bronze and 200m Silver at the ECOWAS U20 Games in Ghana, and then sealed it up with African Youth 100m and 200m titles in Algeria before her trip to Argentina.
With this Olympic title, the teenage speedster has definitely announced herself to the world as a potential senior Olympic medallist at Tokyo 2020 and beyond, if well supported and barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Congratulations Nigerians, we may have found our next global successor to Blessing Okagbare!!!