Chioma Ajunwa who is the first and only Nigerian to have won an Olympic gold medalist is gracing the cover of The Will Downtown magazine’s latest issue in celebration of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
The 50-year-old who won gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta had a chit-chat with The Will Downtown magazine and here’s what the editor in chief Latasha Ngwube has to say about Chioma Ajunwa.
“When we (@thewilldowntown) get a good brainwave, I’m excited to follow it through, and nailing National sports hero, @officialchiomaajunwa for our Olympics special issue was the challenge I didn’t know I needed.
However, I was not at all prepared for the gamut of emotions I would face from anger to incredulity to disbelief, goose-pimpled at every turn, and finally elation as we completed the interview and photoshoot. What is it about this country that stops us from rewarding those who have served us well and giving them their flowers whilst still above the grave?
For those who may not know. Chioma Ajunwa was the first female individual Olympic gold medalist in Africa and the only Nigerian to date for her spectacular efforts at women’s long jump during the 1996 games held in Atlanta, USA.
One would think that she would be amongst the Nigerian coaches and non-competing delegates bound for the freshly commenced Tokyo Olympic games but her response to that was simply “I was asked to come to Abuja but when I got there, they said I didn’t have a line sheet and so it seems I’m not going anywhere after all”.
This comes as no surprise as it was only barely a month ago that the houses promised the Nigerian Olympians of 1996 were finally handed over to those still alive- a good 25 years later!
I’d like to say a big thank you to the guys at @dagapparel l for Chioma’s athleisure wear and the good people at @shopthebcode e for the Skechers sneakers all gifted to our cover star in appreciation of her efforts towards making Nigeria great. To the young and strong athletes teeming to make your marks, I say do it for the love of the sport and country. One day, one day this country go beta!”
Adire dress: @amedeonline
Nigerian Olympians Tobi Amusan, Odun Adekuoroye, Ese Brume & Adaora Elonu cover Athlst’s HEADLINER
Athlst launched its Headliner debut series of four Nigerian women athletes, Tobi Amusan, Odun Adekuoroye, Ese Brume and Adaora Elonu who are presently competing at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
The cover follows the story of their journey so far relating to sport. These powerful black women are representing Nigeria in the 100m Hurdles, Freestyle Wrestling, Long Jump and Basketball respectively.
ATHLST is a sports news and content studio startup and its Headliner Series is to put the spotlight on top Africa athletes around the world.
Check it out below:
Nigerian Footballer Odion Jude Ighalo Is The Cover Star For This Day Magazine
Nigerian footballer, Jude Odion Ighalo is the cover star for This Day Magazine. Ighalo who has played for various international clubs, the first Nigerian to be on Manchester United and currently a striker for Saudi club Al Shabab discusses his humble background, career and family with This Day.
Read excerpts below:
At what age did you realize you had a passion for football, and you wanted to play professionally?
I think I was about ten years old when I started playing football. I was in primary school then, and I played for the school team. At the time, I was so into the game, and it was all I did. After secondary school, I sat for the JAMB entrance examination, but my results were withheld. I then decided to focus more on football, do more training and take it up as a career.
What was your first team?
I was training back then in Nigeria with a team in Ajegunle. At the time, there was a scout who usually came to watch us play. One day I was picked up for a trial, and that was it. I passed. On August 31st 2007, I signed my first professional contract, and that’s how my football career officially started. From Norway to Italy to Udinese in 2008, then Granada in Spain to England from Watford to China back to England and now Saudi Arabia. It’s been a long journey. It hasn’t been easy, but everything is going on well regardless. I have enjoyed every step of the journey because I love what I do – playing football.
Can you remember your first professional game?
Yes, I do and clearly, too. It was in Norway, and we won 3-1. I scored a goal in the game, and I was so happy since it was my first professional goal outside Nigeria. It was a dream come true for me. At the start, I was a little bit nervous because I wanted to perform well. Remember, this was my first time playing outside the country and with foreigners too. I wanted to kickstart my career outside the country with a bang, and I thank God it went well. Since then, there’s been no looking back.
What was it like being the first Nigerian playing for Manchester United?
Manchester United is a team I had supported right from when I was young, and so you can only imagine how I felt having the privilege to play for them—and then being the first Nigerian to do so made it even more special. I had a good time there with loads of beautiful experiences. One that stands out was scoring my first goal. It felt like a dream come true. It is an experience I would never forget.
What would you say has been the high point of your career?
Well, I will say when I signed my deal with China. It was a good contract. And I was pleased with it. I was bought from Watford to Changchun Yatai for £20million and it was a huge transfer and the biggest transfer in the history of both clubs. I went there and played for two years. I did so well with the team. I played about 50 or 52 games with 36 goals. It was one of the best moments in my career life. I would also say the day I got signed to Manchester United. Nothing compares to that feeling.
You are currently with Al-Shabab; how is that going?
It’s going well. I just finished my first six months with them, and I did well (thirteen games with nine goals and four assists). Not a bad one for a start, even though I know, I could have done better.
I am looking forward to starting a new season with them, and hopefully, I can score more goals.
Football is the ultimate unifying sport globally, particularly in Nigeria. How does it feel to be at the center of it all?
When it comes to football, nothing else matters. On the field, there’s no talk of tribalism, race, culture or religion. Instead, we all come together to celebrate our wins. I am happy to be at the center of it all. I am using my God-given talent to bring people together from different tribes, religions and countries to support one goal. It’s a beautiful feeling.
When was the last time you played for the National football team?
My last game for the National team was July 17th 2019, in Egypt, when we played our 3rd place in the Africa Nations Cup. I scored the goal that gave us the 3rd place medal, and after that, I announced my retirement from the National team.
Why did you retire?
It was a bit tough. I got injured. I was playing throughout the tournament with pains and an injury. My club in China wasn’t too happy. Also, there was the issue of the distance from China to Nigeria. Besides, I am not getting any younger, so I decided to allow the younger ones to continue from where I stopped. I am still in contact with everyone in the National team, and they are all doing very well.
Click the link to read the full interview:
Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Covers Vogue Hong Kong’s July 2021 Issue
Tennis star, Naomi Osaka graced the cover of Hong Kong Vogue’s July 2021 digital issue. Naomi who has been all over social media regarding her Netflix documentary, which gives an intimate insight into her tennis career, is stirring things up even more over her look on the Vogue Hong Kong cover.
The 23-year-old clad in a properly athletic-themed white bustier bodysuit, matched with an oversized shirt by David Koma. Alongside, she wore a couple of gigantic shining studs formed like tennis rackets. Her hair which was fixed in braids was packed stylishly.
Naomi Osaka strikes powerful poses for the photoshoot ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she would be representing Japan.
Addressing Vogue Hong Kong, she gave an insight on the struggles of playing Tennis.
“Tennis is a solo sport, you cannot rely on a teammate when you’re having an off day. It’s about trusting yourself and the work you put in prior to the match.”
“You may lose more than you win, be told ‘no’ more than ‘yes’. But if you stay the path and put in the work you can be the best version of yourself,” she ended.
In June, Osaka pulled out from the French Open, declining to partake in interviews, in the wake of focusing on her mental health. She will address her emotional wellness battles in her Netflix documentary “Naomi Osaka” which premiered on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Photographer: AB+DM@The Only Agency
Stylist: Law Roach@The Only Agency
CGI Artist: Fergus Yip
Makeup Artist: Autumn Moultrie
Hair Stylist: Marty Harper
Casting Director: Jill Demling
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