Exclusive: Runner, mum, victor: Omolara’s second coming

Apr 16, 2024 | Sports | 0 comments

Quarter miler Omolara Ogunmakinju emerged as the shining star of Nigerian athletics after her remarkable performance at the recently concluded African Games in Ghana.

In relay events across Africa, Nigeria has consistently held the top spot, boasting an unmatched record of success. Therefore, sports enthusiasts both in Nigeria and neighbouring Ghana eagerly awaited another victorious moment as Team Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team, comprising Emmanuel Ojeli, Patience Okon-George, Sikiru Adeyemi, and Ogunmakinju, prepared for the final in Accra.

However, what unfolded during the race surpassed everyone’s expectations. Initially trailing behind Botswana in the first three baton exchanges, Team Nigeria seemed destined for a disappointing outcome. But then came Ogunmakinju’s turn.

Starting the last leg of the race, Ogunmakinju found herself trailing Botswana’s Kamberuka Obakeng by a significant margin of 15 meters. It was a daunting challenge, but Ogunmakinju embraced it as the race of her life.

With just 30 meters left and still behind Obakeng, Ogunmakinju launched a remarkable surge. In a breathtaking display of skill and determination, she erased the deficit and overtook Obakeng in the final stretch, securing Team Nigeria a gold medal finish.

The Nigerian fans in the University of Ghana Sports Stadium erupted into wild celebrations as Ogunmakinju’s incredible performance turned silver into gold for Nigeria. This victory, achieved in a blistering time of 3:13.26, also set a new African record, surpassing Nigeria’s previous record set at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Reflecting on her historic race, Ogunmakinju expressed her gratitude to God and attributed her success to hard work and teamwork. Despite taking a break from athletics to start a family, she made a triumphant return, showcasing her unwavering dedication to the sport.

Supported by her husband, Adeleye Ogunmakinju, who is a former athlete, Ogunmakinju defied the odds and proved that motherhood is not a barrier to athletic excellence. With meticulous planning and unwavering determination, she balanced her training regimen with family responsibilities, achieving remarkable success both on and off the track.

Ogunmakinju’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and faith. As she continues to pursue her athletic dreams, she remains steadfast in her belief that with God, all things are possible. Her inspiring story serves as a reminder that impossibility is merely a temporary obstacle on the path to greatness.

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