First African to Win an Olympic Gold Medal in Chess Receives Medal 24 Years After

An employee of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ibadan Zonal Station, Mr Odion Aikhoje has received his Olympic gold medal which he won at the 1998 chess Olympiad in Kalmk, Republic of Russia, when he broke the record as the first African to win an Olympic gold medal in chess.

The medal was presented to Mr Aikhoje in Lagos by the president of the International Chess Federation, FIDE, Mr Arkady Dvorkovic at the opening ceremony of the ongoing African Individual Chess Championships.

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Mr Aikhoje claimed the individual gold medal 24 years ago, placing first ahead of International grandmasters like Smbat Lputian of Armenia, Yasser Seirawan of the United States and Nigel Short of England among others.

Receiving the award, Mr Odion Aikhoje appreciated God, FIDE and the Nigerian government for making the event possible after 24 years.

Reacting to why it took him this long to receive the medal, the chess international master noted that some unfortunate incidents and improper scheduling made him miss the closing ceremony of the 1998 Olympiad where he would have been presented with the award.

In his remark, the FIDE president, Arkady Dvorkovic noted that the victory was particularly remarkable for Nigeria as only one other African had been able to achieve the feat to date – Robert Gwaze of Zimbabwe who won Gold in Slovenia in 2002, 4 years after Aikhoje made history.

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