Four days since Nigeria got its first win in any sport at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Habibat Abiola Ogunbanwo got the country its second win of the Games, winning heat 1 of women’s 100m Freestyle in the Swimming event.
Not just that she won, Ogunbanwo swam to a new National Record of 59.74s, making her the first Nigerian woman ever to swim under the one minute mark in this event. The 17-year-old Ogunbanwo took down Ngozi Monu’s longstanding record of 1:00.50 which has stood for 14years, and now has two Nigerian records in her kitty.
Having entered the competition with a Personal Best of 1:00.77, going under one-minute was going to be a big improvement for her, and it showed in how strongly she finished particularly in the last 50m of the race.
Although she finished in an overall ranking of 48th place when the six heats were concluded, missing out on a place in the last 16 athletes who made it to the semifinal stage. This outing will undoubtedly be important for her swimming development.
Living in Canberra, Australia, Ogunbanwo moved to Kazan, Russia at the start of the year as part of a FINA scholarship for athletes from around the world who have immense potential in the sport.
That camping has helped her, and it could be a matter of time before she becomes a contender.
For now, she will continue taking down Nigerian Swimming records, her second in two months, adding to the 200m Freestyle NR of 2:13.17 which she swam in May this year.