Abiola Ogunbanwo has broken a 14-year-old Nigerian record to become the first Nigerian woman to finish the women’s 100 meters freestyle in swimming under one minute.
Prior to the Games, Ogunbanwo had indicated her desire to break the record after she posted a personal best of 1:00.77, which she set in April at the Russian national swimming championship. She also entered the record books as only the 10th Nigerian to take part in swimming at the Olympic games.
Before Ogunbanwo, the only Nigerians to have graced the pool at the Olympics were Musa Bakare (Barcelona ‘92), Ikhaghomi Joshua (Barcelona ‘92), Monu (Sydney 2000 & Beijing 2008), Gentle Offoin (Sydney 2000), Lenient Obia (Athens 2004), Eric Williams (Athens 2004), Yellow Yeiyah (Beijing 2008), Samson Opuakpo (Rio 2016), and Rachael Tonjor (Rio 2016).
The 17-year-old posted the new personal best of 59.74 seconds on Wednesday at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
Ogunbanwo also got Nigeria its second victory of the games, after winning heat one of women’s 100m freestyle in the swimming event.
With the feat, she has broken a longstanding Nigerian record of 1:00.50 set by Ngozi Monu, which had served as the benchmark since 2007.
The feat, however, could not get her a place in the semi-finals — meant for the best 16 swimmers — after she finished in an overall ranking of 48th place when the six heats were concluded.