The former Nigerian athlete and Member of the Order of Niger, Chioma Ajunwa was born as Chioma Ajunwa-Opara on 25 December 1970 in Umuihiokwu, Nigeria. She is the last of nine children.
Ajunwa competed at the African Championships in 1989 and the All Africa Games in 1991 where she won gold medals in the long jump. She is the Chairperson of the Women’s Development Committee of Imo State Football Association and also a Member of Committee on the Revival of the Nigeria Academicals Sports Competitions.
Born into what could be described as “a very poor home”, Ahiazu-Mbaise-native Ajunwa was the last of nine children, with six brothers and two sisters. Her father died while she was still young, leaving his wife 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. She later decided to become a motor mechanic but abandoned the idea following her mother’s disapproval.
While exploring her athletic career, Ajunwa earned herself a place in the super falcons during the Women’s World Cup in 1991, but as she was constantly benched her skill was seldom used.
She competed at the African Championships in 1989 and the All Africa Games in 1991 where she won gold medals in the long jump.
She achieved fame when she became the first athlete in her country to win an Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.