Since 1996 Olympic Games, Where Grace Ajunwa jumped 7.12m, it had been near impossible to match, not to talk of beating it.
Until Ese Brume broke the record with an outstanding 7.17m leap at a meet in the USA.
Ajunwa in an interview with speaks on her broken record and other issues. She also credits her major achievements in sports to Segun Odegbami and the Nigeria Police Force.
When asked how it feels to see another Nigerian Ese Brume break the African record jump that landed you a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics, here is her response.
She said; “I’m so happy and I feel great because it means we can do it once again. It simply means we are taking the right step in the right direction. My heart was burdened with Nigeria’s failure to break the record all the while because it says a lot about our slow progress in track and field sports. It really showed that we were not making progress despite the talents that abound in our country.
We don’t really prepare adequately for global events like the Olympics and World Championship and that explains why Nigeria dropped from its lofty position as one of Africa’s best athletics nations. I’m so happy that finally, my 25-year-old record has been broken. We are supposed to smash every record in every two years and not just watch it hang there for decades just like Henry Amike’s 36 years Hurdles record; it is sad that no hurdler has smashed that record.
It means our athletes are not making any progress when we allow such records to stay on for that long, but I’m happy Brume has shown the world what we can do as a nation. Our athletes are working hard but internal problems within sports administration have been the athletes’ biggest undoing. I just pray that other Nigerian athletes can come up with another record-smashing performance at the next Olympics.
She was also asked; In your own estimation, how far can Brume go in the Tokyo Olympics and where else do u think Nigeria’s medals will come from in Tokyo Olympics?
Ajunwa said; “If she can put her head down and plan her programme very well, then she can replicate her record-breaking feat and that will simply mean a gold medal for Nigeria in Tokyo.”
She also said; “I can’t really say because I’ve not seen them train, but with what we have seen on TV, we can pencil down Okagbare and Ese Brume to win medals in their own event, but I don’t want to predict because a medal is a medal at the Olympics. I think we are close to winning a gold medal.
At the end of the interview she said; I really owe my achievements to Chief Segun Odegbami, who supported my career. I also want to thank the Nigerian Police Force, who gave me the time and support to showcase my talent around the world and I thank God my talent was good enough for the world to see.