The Nigerian high jumper was the first black African to win a gold medal but his remarkable story had a tragic end. He was tied to a stake and executed for treason. Read the story below written by former Sports Editor of the Observer, Brian Oliver...
The first time Emmanuel Ifeajuna appeared before a crowd of thousands he did something no black African had ever done. He won a gold medal at an international sporting event. “Nigeria Creates World Sensation,” ran the headline in the West African Pilot after Ifeajuna’s record-breaking victory in the high jump at the 1954 Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. He was the pride not just of Nigeria but of a whole continent.
An editorial asked: “Who among our people did not weep for sheer joy when Nigeria came uppermost, beating all whites and blacks together?”