…She is a capable replacement for Okagbare, says Porbeni
Team Nigeria grabbed her first medal at the ongoing 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina when Rosemary Chukwuma ran an impressive race to win gold in the 100 metres event. She clocked a time of 11.17 seconds.
In July this year, Chukwuma was in the Nigerian team to the African Youths Championship in Algeria, where she captured two gold medals in the 100m and 200m events.
Before then, she had competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as Nigeria’s youngest athlete, where she anchored the 4x100m relay team to a bronze medal.
This time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Chukwuma struck gold in the 100m event on Day 5 late Monday night to set Team Nigeria’s camp into wide celebration.
Chukwuma saved the best for the last moment, having finished third in the first stage of the race, but won the final race with an impressive time of 11.17 seconds, which was good enough for the gold medal.
The athletes competed in two stages of the competition with the performance of each athlete in both stages added together to determine the overall final placing.
Julien Alfred of Santa Lucia took silver, while Gabriela Anahi Suarez of Ecuador got bronze.
An elated Chukwuma told journalists in Buenos Aires that she was satisfied with her performance. “I am happy and satisfied because before coming to Argentina, I did not have good results.
“I was scared that I would not get what I hoped for at these Games. I did not think that it was possible, but God sees to everything. I started to train in 2016 and I travelled to Australia last year to prepare in this discipline, then continued training in Nigeria.”
Chukwuma was part of the country’s 4×100 women’s team that won gold at the African Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba this year.
Another Nigerian, Alaba Akintola, got a silver medal in men’s 100m in a time of 10.24 seconds.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni, who led Team Nigeria to Algeria for the African Youth Championship in July, said: “If this athlete (Chukwuma) is well handled, I see her replacing Blessing Okagbare in the sprint. My prayer is that she does not run into the bad hands of greedy coaches very soon.
“I expect Nigeria to pick another medal in men’s triple jump, if our boy, Ineh Oritsemeyiwa, can improve on his jump.”