Olympic gold medallist, Chioma Ajunwa, says the 24-carat gold watch given to her by the late businessman and politician, Moshood Abiola, in 1991 was stolen before she could even wear it, the sportsbay.com reports.
According to Punch, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 elections gave her cash and the watch after winning two gold medals at the 1991 African Games in Cairo, Egypt.
Ajunwa further said she used the cash gift to build a three-bedroom apartment for herself.
“I don’t think there is anybody in Nigeria as far as sports is concerned that competed in the early 90s that wouldn’t have one thing or the other to say about Chief MKO Abiola. His memory still lingers in the mind of many.
“In 1991, I won two gold medals at the African Games, and when we came back, Chief Abiola did us proud. The first three rooms I built in my father’s house was from the money he gave to us. He gave me N370,000 and a 24-karat gold wristwatch, though somebody stole that wristwatch. The wristwatch was so fine and I kept somewhere, with the case. I never wore it before it was stolen.
“I cannot forget him in a hurry; he was a man of peace and great understanding. He knew those of us in sports were from less-privileged homes and he took care of us,” Ajunwa said.
Ajunwa also said in honouring him, an annual sporting competition should be organised apart from the renaming of the national stadium after him.
“Chief Abiola deserved more than the renaming of the Abuja stadium. I was happy when I heard the president renamed the stadium after him because it was long overdue, I thought past administrations should have done that, kudos to the president for doing so.
“There should be a kind of competition that will always be running in his name annually, if that is done for him, it will be very good,” she added.
It will be recalled that she is the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event in 1996.
“My brother, I didn’t go to the Olympics believing I will win the gold because those I was going to be competing against were more experienced and renowned. So, I was happy that I made the Olympics,” she said.
She also said when she won the gold medal in the long jump event in Atlanta, she celebrated on her own as no one from Africa thought of celebrating with her on the record she had made.
She did a jump of 7.2meters to beat Fiona May. And the Italian who is a black woman refused to embrace her thereafter.