Birmingham 2022 is the backdrop for our latest feature celebrating black athletes who have made an impact on and off the field.
The 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games was a massive success that championed the values of Humanity, Equality, and Destiny.
Not only was it the first major multi-sport event to have more events for women than men, but it also hosted the largest integrated program for para-athletes who competed on the same stages and over the same days.
One of those para-athletes was Nigeria’s Goodness Nwachukwu who not only won Gold in the discus but won the hearts of the crowd at the Alexander Stadium.
Born in Nigeria in 1998, Goodness was influenced by the likes of Njideka Iyiazi, Ekene Ene, and Silver Ezeikpe – who won a javelin Gold medal in the 2004 Summer Paralympics.
“I was introduced into sports and discus throwing by my mentors and my heroes,” Goodness recalled.
“Njideka Iyiazi, Omolola Akinbode, Silver Ezeikpe, and Ekene Ene were my heroes growing up.”
Competing in the F42-44/61-64 category – field athletes with moderately affected movement in one or both legs or the absence of limbs – means that Goodness must constantly look to make balance adjustments in the throwing circle.
Goodness had already shown her talent at the 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Tunis where she had set a new world record and her sights were firmly set on gold at Birmingham.
Goodness attended a GAPS training camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa to prepare for Birmingham.
The GAPS programme is a pioneering initiative within the Commonwealth Games framework to support and nurture para-athletes from member nations. This program is a testament to the Commonwealth Games Federation's commitment to inclusivity and providing equal opportunities for athletes of all abilities. Through GAPS, the Commonwealth Games Federation strives to break barriers, shatter stereotypes, and inspire a new generation of para-athletes to achieve their full potential on the global stage. While Goodness was delighted to attend, tragedy struck when her coach, Patrick Anaeto passed away at the camp.
This devastating loss could have derailed her path, but instead, her indomitable spirit shone and culminated in her triumphant victory where she broke her world record.
“It was so sad, and it was not easy but with the huge support from my family and friends, I was able to move forward,” Goodness reflected.
Her victory at the 2022 Commonwealth Games has already inspired a new generation of para-athletes to achieve their full potential on the global stage.
In August 2023, Nigeria’s Destiny Agbo made history when she won the first ever Commonwealth Youth Games Para gold medal in the Women’s Discus Throw F42-44 / F61-64.
“It is important for me to make myself an inspiration to upcoming athletes and to achieve more in and out of sport,” explained Goodness.
“In sports, there are huge opportunities.”
Her plans for the future resonate with the same determination that led her to success, “I am working so hard to achieve greatness in the field of education and sports.”
It's a sentiment that echoes the values instilled by her mentors: “To work hard and be focused.”
Goodness Nwachukwu's journey is not only one of athletic achievement, but also a testament to the power of determination, mentorship, and the indomitable human spirit.