Odion Aikhoje to be honored in Dresden!

IM Odion Aikhoje

International Master Odion Aikhoje is celebrating the 10th year anniversary of his gold medal performance at the Elista Olympiad in 1998. This was a crowning achievement for Africa’s most populous nation, but Aikhoje had to leave before receiving the medal at the closing ceremony. What happened to his medal thereafter is the subject of fierce debate. What is certain is that Aikhoje has never laid eyes on his medal. The details have been covered in a number of fora.

Attempts have been made to retrieve the medal from the then-Chairman Theophilus Caifas who held it ransom because monies were not reimbursed from the Sports Ministry who was preparing to present the medal to a deserving Aikhoje. Ten years later, the medal has not been recovered and it turns out that Caifas claims to have misplaced it! Even national hero Wole Soyinka could not resolve the issue prior to Dresden. Thus, the Nigeria Diaspora will present Aikhoje with a commemorative plaque for his gold medal performance at the Dresden games. International Coordinator Kunle Elegbede stated, “This time, it is from Nigeria to a chess player and we refuse to forget this young man’s achievement.” Elegbede has sent the plaque to Dresden (since his visa has not been approved yet) and it has been requested that FIDE present the honors.

10th year anniversary for Odion's gold medal

Congratulations IM Aikhoje!

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

4 Comments

  1. Was this award actually made in Dresden? It seems Odion did not play with the Nigerian team in Dresden as his name did not appear in any of the matches.

  2. shogun,

    The award was not presented. Odion did not make it to Dresden. I’m not sure why he didn’t make it. The award is now in Nigeria and hopefully will be presented to him very soon.

  3. I am holding the plaque that was to be presented to Odion. He was not able to travel, but the plaque should now be in Nigeria in the custody of Sani Mohammed or Femi Solaja. I hope this is done very soon until the medal is recovered.

    Daaim Shabazz holding Odion Aikhoje’s 10th anniversary plaque
    commemorating his gold medal from the 1998 Olympiad in Elista, Russia.
    Photo by FM Paul Truong.

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