According to “TANA AIYEJINA,” quarter-miler Omolara Ogunmakinju stole the show at the recently concluded African Games, but the mother of two had a difficult journey to continental glory.

Omolara Ogunmakinju, a quarter-miler, is the newest golden girl in Nigerian athletics, having made history with her heroics at the recently concluded African Games in Ghana.

Nigeria remains the clear leader in Africa when it comes to relay races.And as was to be expected, sports-loving Nigerians everywhere, including in Ghana, a neighboring West African nation, were eagerly awaiting another thrilling finish as Team Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team, which consists of Emmanuel Ojeli, Patience Okon-George, Sikiru Adeyemi, and Ogunmakinju, prepared to compete in their event’s final in Accra on Tuesday.

But none of the throngs of sports fans in the nation could have predicted what would occur during the race.For the first three baton exchanges, Botswana trailed Ojeli, Okon-George, and Adeyemi, much to their dismay, until Ogunmakinju was given the baton.In the final leg of the race, Ogunmakinju found herself 15 meters behind Botswana’s Kamberuka Obakeng, and it looked all but over!Ogunmakinju was aware that this was the race of her life.

She gave a masterclass, erasing the 15-meter deficit and passing Obakeng in the last 30 meters to lead Team Nigeria to a gold medal finish with 30 meters remaining.In a lightning-fast 3:13.26, her amazing surge gave Nigeria the gold, and Botswana, who had set a new national record of 3:13.99, had to settle for silver.At the University of Ghana Sports Stadium, a small group of Nigerian supporters broke into raucous celebrations.

The shimmering blue tracks of the Accra stadium had never hosted a race of that size.For some, Ogunmakinju’s transformation of silver into gold for Nigeria was indeed the “Miracle of Accra”!With their 3:13.26 finish, the Nigerian quartet broke the previous record of 3:13.60, which they had also set in the mixed relay semi-final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This set a new African record for the team.”I am overjoyed.

After the historic race, Ogunmakinju exclaimed, “And I give all glory to God for making the hard work pay off for me because I was ready for this game, and it is really paid off.”As it is a team effort, each person must give it their all.”I did my best and persevered until I reached the finish line, giving God all the praise for my perseverance.”Ironically, Ogunmakinju is returning to competition after taking a hiatus from the 400-meter track to get married, start a family, and handle the demanding responsibilities of motherhood.

She took a five-year hiatus from athletics before returning to the game after giving birth to a boy and a girl.”After getting married in 2015, we both decided to take a break following the 2016 Rio Olympics, which we actually did. In 2018, God provided us with our first child, and in 2020, we welcomed our second child. We resumed training in 2021 and I made the Nigerian team in 2023.When Nigeria’s women’s 4×400-meter relay team won a gold medal at the 2012 African Championships in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, she became well-known at the young age of 19.

She also debuted at the London Olympic Games that same year.She once more contributed to the relay team’s silver medal finish at the African Championships in Durban, South Africa, four years later.The rising star abruptly left the sport to focus on his family in the midst of glowing predictions of a bright future in the quarter mile.But the athlete, who turns 31 on May 25, acknowledges that it was not an easy task to make a comeback.

“It was difficult to burn fat and return after giving birth and start training,” she told at the 2022 National Sports Festival, where she represented Rivers State in the relays.”I had to get off the tracks, focus on my new house, and seize the chance to give birth to my gorgeous children. I am appreciative of God and my spouse for supporting me.”I missed my running partners and I missed track a lot.” I am enjoying it; it is like being in a different class now that I have a new group of people.

She took her time returning to competition, but she eventually made a name for herself by placing second in the women’s 400-meter final at the National Championships the previous year.After last year’s championships, she told Making of Champions, “We have been working so hard just to meet up and glory be to God from one competition to the other. I have been cutting down the time and with God here we are.”Returning to sports after a break could be difficult, but Ogunmakinju said she made the decision after giving it serious thought and getting her husband’s support.

“I thought, ‘What next?’ after giving birth to my second child. Should I pursue another career path, become a coach, or do something else? I therefore told myself, “Just give it a try; I can do it again.” I then began jogging in an effort to lose weight. Glory be to God, you can see that I am still capable of performing better as we made progress.

We managed to survive in this way.Adeleye Ogunmakinju, her husband and a former athlete, was instrumental in Ogunmakinju’s second coming. Last Tuesday, he traveled to Ghana to witness his wife’s incredible performance on the tracks.“Apart from my office work, I have been assisting coach Ogogo Godwin in training my wife before she travelled to America.And last week in Accra, he was ecstatic to see his wife accomplish the unimaginable.”As the spouse of the African champion, nothing brings me greater satisfaction than witnessing my spouse, who is also our beautiful child’s mother, reach her full potential and excel in her chosen field.

Yes, it is a joyful thing.Honestly, regardless of the outcome, I will always be incredibly proud of her, given the sacrifices she made—particularly considering the time she took away from us to start our family. She was tenacious, put in a lot of effort to get back in shape, and worked really hard.Because I am aware of the effort she put forth, I would still be extremely proud of her even if she did not win the race.While many female athletes have struggled to strike a balance between their careers and motherhood, the quarter-miler has been able to do so with ease, akin to a smooth baton exchange on the tracks.

So what was Ogunmakinju’s method?”Everything is planned; you must plan your work, get up earlier, complete your tasks on time, and then greet your family after returning from the track. You have to face it when you are in the race. In the little time you have to rest, you rest.Ogunmakinju was in peak condition for her current school, Harding University in Arkansas, prior to her trip to Ghana.

The Harding freshman, who graduated from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, with a degree in human kinetics, became the first Lady Bison to ever earn an All-America honor in the indoor 400m when she finished second at the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburgh, just days before the continental sports festival.In the 400-meter preliminary, Ogunmakinju set a new school record with a time of 52.77 seconds.

She finished second in 52.85 seconds in the final.She won her event in her Harding debut earlier in January in a time that set a Harding record of 54.74 seconds, good for third in Division II this season.Harding’s 4×400-meter relay team was also led by Ogunmakinju to victory, setting a new school record of 3:49.25, which beat the previous record of 3:52.02 from 2022.

Ogunmakinju’s valiant actions in Accra would undoubtedly take center stage in a book about miracles on the tracks, but the determined woman is far from finished yet.Impossibility means nothing to her.”When we can work together as a team, we can achieve anything—with God, nothing is impossible.

We will meet the standard.”She vowed to keep going until she crossed the finish line.

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