For twenty-five years, Falilat Ogunkoya held the record for having the fastest time in 400m, from any African woman representing an African country, but teenage Namibian athlete, Christine Mboma did a blistering 48.54 seconds to break the Nigerian’s 49.10 seconds previous record.
Mboma, 18, broke the record at an athletics meeting at Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium in Bydgoszcz, Poland, as she became the first African woman, representing a country in Africa, to do a sub-49 seconds time since Ogunkoya’s feat at Atlanta ’96.
Mboma’s time is also currently the seventh-fastest in history and puts her as a clear favourite ahead of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Namibian had been knocking the ceilings of greatness for a while now, and her latest feat is no surprise. In different races in Zambia and at a local meeting in Namibia, Mboma did a time of sub-49.30s twice (49.24s and 49.22s, respectively).
Mboma however may not be the first African to break Ogunkoya’s record, with Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu, a Nigerian representing Bahrain broke the 49-second mark two years ago when she raced a time of 48.14 seconds, and the third-fastest of all time at the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar.
Ogunkoya is the second Nigerian athlete in 2021 to lose a 25-year record, precisely set at the Atlanta 96 Olympics, as compatriot, Ese Brume leaped 7.17m in California to beat Chioma Ajunwa’s African long jump record of 7.12m.