|Full name||Francis Obiorah Obikwelu|
|Born||22 November 1978|
|Height||1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||80 kg (176 lb)|
|Sport||Track and field|
|Event(s)||100 metres, 200 metres|
Francis Obiorah Obikwelu, GOIH (born 22 November 1978) is a retired Nigerian-born Portuguese sprinter, who specialized in 100 metres and 200 metres. He was the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 100 metres. In the same race, he set the European record in the event at 9.86 seconds.
Obikwelu was born in Onitsha, Nigeria. At the age of 14, one of Obikwelu's football coaches noticed him and suggested he try out athletics. After two years, he represented Nigeria in the 1994 African Junior Championships and won the silver medal in the 400 metres.
Obikwelu moved to Lisbon, Portugal as a 16-year-old. After being rejected by both Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal, he worked as a construction worker in the Algarve. He decided to learn Portuguese, and his teacher put him in contact with sports club Belenenses, where he resumed practising. While living in Portugal, Obikwelu was adopted by a lady who he now refers to as his "mother".
In July 2000, Lisbon-based Nigerian sprinter Mercy Nku said Obikwelu had decided to compete for Portugal because of neglect by Nigerian sports officials when he was injured while representing Nigeria in Sydney, Australia. "He had to go to Canada to undergo an operation on his knee spending his own money." Obikwelu became a Portuguese citizen in October 2001.
Obikwelu's athletics achievements, his life story and his personality made him a popular figure in Portugal, where he is nicknamed Chico, the short form of the Portuguese version of his first name.
Obikwelu holds the European record for the fastest time in the 100 m at 9.86 seconds. He finished second in the 100 m at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, the first medal ever in athletics sprinting events for Portugal. He won 100 m and 200 m in 2006 at the European Championships in Athletics and became the first male athlete to win both 100 m and 200 m in the European Championship.
In the qualifiers at the 2004 Summer Olympics Obikwelu ran two times under ten seconds, setting a national record. In the final he recovered from a non-medal position in the second half of the race to win silver, just one-hundredth of a second behind Justin Gatlin and one-hundredth ahead of Maurice Greene, beating the former European record set by Linford Christie in 1993. Obikwelu finished fifth in the 200m.
Obikwelu was voted Waterford Crystal European Male Athlete of the Year for 2006 by the European Athletic Association, in an internet poll open to member federations, media and the general public.
Obikwelu announced his retirement from competitive athletics after failing to qualify for the 100 m finals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but retracted his statement, agreeing to honour the last year of his contract with his track club. Obikwelu won the 100 m gold medal at the 2009 Lusophony Games.
|50 metres||5.79||Liévin, France||28 February 2004|
|60 metres||6.53||Paris, France||5 March 2011|
|100 metres||9.86||Athens, Greece||22 August 2004|
|200 metres||19.84||Seville, Spain||25 August 1999|
|400 metres||46.29||Unknown||3 June 1998|
Obikwelu was the 1996 world junior champion over 100 m and 200 m.
o velocista Francis Obikwelu