Nigeria’s rowing star Chierika Ukogu was quite close to fulfilling her dreams of winning an Olympic medal in Rio but painfully the US-based Nigerian finished fifth in the quarter-finals of her event on Tuesday.
The initial report was that her fifth-place finishing still gave her a semi-final place with good timing but The PUNCH can confirm that she did not make it through to that stage after all.
Ukogu, Nigeria’s lone entrant in women’s rowing Singles Sculls only dropped to fifth in the final classification.
It is only the top three competitors in each group that move on to the semi-finals A/B which are medal contention rounds. She therefore moved to the semi-finals C/D where she will compete for the rankings amongst other three quarterfinals.
Ukogu made a lot of sacrifices to represent Nigeria several times through private sponsorship to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
The 23-year-old also put her medical school on hold to represent her country here in Brazil.
A graduate of Human Biology of Stafford University, USA, Ukogu took to Rowing in 2006 and did not hide her ambition of competing at the Olympic Games.
At the World Championships in France last year she placed 24th and proceeded to the Olympic trials in Tunis, Tunisia independently where she picked up the ticket to the Games after finishing third at the African competition.