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Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, (born 25 December 1970) – is a Nigerian former athlete who specialized in the long jump. After various setbacks in her career she achieved fame when she became the first athlete in Nigeria to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and to date remains Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist, Ajunwa is also an officer with the Nigerian Police Force.
Ajunwa was the last of nine children, with six brothers and two sisters. Her father died while she was still young, leaving her mother to solely support a large family. At eighteen Ajunwa, who had been a keen athletics participant during her school years, gained admission into university but was unable to register due to her mother’s inability to pay the fees.
As a professional sportswoman, Ajunwa originally played football for the Nigerian women’s team and was a member of The Falcons during the Women’s World Cup in 1991, but as she was constantly benched her skill was seldom used.
Ajunwa performed as a track and field athlete and specialised in the 100m, 200m and long jump. She competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay, and competed at the African Championships in 1989 and the All Africa Games in 1991 where she won gold medals in the long jump.
On 1 October 2010, Nigeria celebrated its 50th Independence anniversary. As part of that celebration, on Thursday 30 September 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan conferred special Golden Jubilee Independence Awards on 50 distinguished Nigerians and friends of Nigeria including Ajunwa for their contributions to the development of the country. Imo State also awarded her a chieftaincy title. And also some of her major appointments;
1. Chairperson of the Women’s Development Committee of Imo State Football Association. 2011
2. Member of Committee on the Revival of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Competitions.] 2011
3. Assistant Commissioner of Police. 2018 – Date