Chioma Ajunwa, an Olympic gold medallist, says she is grateful to President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigerians for the Centenary Award given to her in Global Sports Competition category in Abuja on Friday.
Ajunwa expressed her feelings in an interview on Sunday in Lagos.
“I’m exited to be honoured for the second time after 14 years of outstanding performance in sports development in the country.
“I must confess that it makes me feel great.
“When I was in the race, I never knew that a day like this will come,” Ajunwa said.
Ajunwa was among the five heroes that received awards in the Global Sports Competition category at the just-concluded Centenary Awards ceremony in Abuja.
She had earlier been honoured as a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, for her outstanding performance which won her the gold medal in Long Jump at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, U.S.
The 1991 All Africa Games gold medallist in long jump charged athletes to aim at bringing glory to the nation in every competition.
“I task athletes to take advantage of their youthful ages to make an impact in any endeavour because people are watching and taking record.
“The reward might not come immediately but overtime; even when you may have forgotten, you will be remembered, just like me.
“I dedicate this award to the Almighty,” she said.
Ajunwa, who is also a police officer, reiterated her commitment to the development of track and field events, as a way of transferring her wealth of knowledge to the younger ones.
“I am aware of some upcoming athletes, majoring in track and field that see me as their role model.
“I am ready to give them the necessary assistance.
“My experience in this field has prepared me for a task of giving back to the younger ones, to assist them to do better than I have done,” she said.
NAN reports that Ajunwa was Nigeria’s first female Olympic gold medallist after giving her best in long jump at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, U.S.