Many people normally seen as disabled and worthy of pity due to their seeming physical limitations has proved that there is no acceptable excuse for mediocrity by the amazing feats they have achieved in life. One of these people is Lauritta Onye whose life ambitions towers highly above her stature.
Lauritta Onye has achieved so much in sports, breaking world records and setting new ones at international sports events, including the Rio Olympics 2016 where she won a gold medal.
In an exclusive interview with the The Sun in Owerri, Imo State, the 4.1ft tall gold medalist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games opined that life is like sports – you don’t win all the time. For instance, while she was breaking world records, a lover broke her heart. However, Ms. Onye has declared her readiness to walk to the altar with her Mr. Right as soon as he shows up.
She painted a picture of her dream man, listing the qualities he must possess. Her words:
“I want a God-fearing man, a man that cares, a man that looks cute, a man that dresses well and has swagger. I don’t like men that wear earrings or funny hairstyles. I need a man that is dark in complexion; I don’t need oyibo.
“I like tall men, men over five feet. My father was a tall man; I want a man like him. I want a real man, not somebody who will be controlled by his mother or friends. The man should be faithful. My kind of man should be romantic.”
When asked if she was presently in a relationship, Lauritta Onye answered in the affirmative saying:
“I will be lying if I tell you that I don’t have a boyfriend now. But since I have known him he has never slept with me. He is far from me. We only talk on phone. He is busy where he is and I’m busy too. He is still schooling, though he has something doing to assist himself.
“He is in Uyo, Akwa Ibom but he hails from Imo. The guy who broke my heart is also from Imo.”
Meanwhile, many men who believe they have all the necessary qualities listed by the gold medalist have started showing interest in the Nigerian athlete.
Lauritta Onye, a native of Ikeduru, Imo State, was born in Owerri, on 4th January 1984. She is a Paralympian athlete who competes in F40 classification throwing events.
According to her, she was present at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique where she won a silver medal in 2011. She was also at African championship in Tunis, Tunisia in March 2015 where she won one gold medal and one silver medal, setting a world record distance of 7.59 metres. In October of the same year, Lauritta won a gold medal at the World championship in Qatar, breaking her own record by throwing a distance of 7.72 on her first attempt.
The height of her victory was when she won a new gold medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics after beating Tunisia’s Rima Abdelli into silver place. This made her the first T40 athlete to throw over eight metres in the world. “I should be called a world record holder and world record breaker”, she said.
Despite the fact that Ms. Onye had made the nation proud on an international platform, she revealed that she has received no reward whatsoever, from Nigeria. According to her, apart from the allowance paid her like other athletes, she has not gotten any reward for her performance.
“For instance, Imo State indigenes that went to Rio and won medals were rewarded by Governor Rochas Okorocha. They got a car and N1 million each excluding me”, she added.
Speaking on her Qatar victory, Lauritta Onye said:
“Since I have been going to competitions, I have not being rewarded. I have been representing Nigeria everywhere and what they do pay are just allowances. In February 2016, President Buhari rewarded my colleagues that went for the World Championship in Qatar in 2015 but till now I have not received anything.
“People were rewarded according to the medal won and competition participated. I was at Qatar where champions rubbed shoulders; it is next to the Olympics. No member of the team from Nigeria won a medal except me. We are not in the same team with the power lifters; theirs is an indoor stuff. Mine is a field competition.
“I was invited to the presidential reception, my name, picture and achievement were in the brochure and I shook hands with President Buhari. Unfortunately, I was not rewarded like others. According to sports officials, they didn’t submit my name early. They said that by the time it got there, Buhari had already signed other people’s reward; that was why my own was not mentioned there.
“The power lifters were given N600,000 for gold, N400,000 for silver and N300, 000 for bronze. But nothing has been given to me. I am still hopeful though.”
Outside of athletics, Onye has ambitions to be an actress and in 2015 she starred in the Nollywood film, Lords of Money, appearing under the name Laury White