The year 1985 will always remain special to Najuma Fletcher because in August of that year she was selected to represent Guyana for the first time.
The St. Margaret Primary School stand out departed Timehri International Airport for Curacao to participate in the first ever Central American and Caribbean Youth Athletics Championship and she did not disappoint in her Inaugural outing in national colours. Najuma won Gold in the 10 to 11 high jump.
Her next international engagement was to Barbados 1986 for the Caribbean Teachers Union Athletics Championship. She won Gold in the broad and high jumps for Girls under 13 and won Silver in the relays. Nassau Bahamas was her next international stop 1987 for the second Central American and Caribbean Junior championship she won Gold’s in the 80 metres 1000 metres, Silver in the long jump and Bronze in the 60 metres hurdles, she was voted the best female on show.
Please note she was only 13 years old.
The following year 1988 Najuma won Silver in the under 17 high jump at the Carifta games in Jamaica, this achievement was before her 14 birthday. At 15 years old she broke the Carifta games high jump record in the under 17 category when she leap 1:72 metres at the National Stadium in Bridgetown Barbados 1989 the following year 1990 she won the Carifta High Jump Gold again and Silver in the long jump this time in Kingston Jamaica the birth place of her father.
She was not 16 years yet Najuma returned to the land of her father birth a few month’s later in 1990 and won in the high jump with a leap of 5ft 9 inches at the Gibson relays. Najuma’s last International meet in 1990 was the Prestigious Central American and Caribbean games in Mexico, the 16 year old placed a honorable fourth in the high jump, with a leap of 1:76 metres her personal best at the time.
So it was shocking when Badminton player Koreen Thomas was named Sports woman of the year 1990. She missed the AAA International programme in 1991 because of CXC Exams Najuma returned to the International scene in 1992 by winning Gold at the Carifta games in Nassau Bahamas her winning jump was 5 feet 9 inches.
She took the Texaco games by storm with a record breaking performance that culminated with two Gold Medals. On her way to winning the high jump Gold she broke Barbadian Nicola Springer record of 1988, 1:70 metres, when she leaped 1:74 metres. She also won Gold in the long jump with a distance of 5.59 metres.
The time came for the 18-year old biggest moment of her International Athletics career the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Competing against the likes of Jackie Joyner Kersey and Et al Najuma found the going tough in Barcelona although the 18 year old failed to medal she broke Guyana’s High Jump Record. In achieving a jump 1:79 metres she eclipsed the 1:78 metres recorded in the Guyana Record Books by Ingrid Adams done in 1983.
The following year 1993 she gained an athletic scholarship at Pittsburg University. She returned to the land of Birth in August 1993 and earned a Bronze medal for the Golden Arrowhead at the Junior Panama Games in Winnipeg Canada in the Heptathlon.
In 1994 she won Bronze at the NCAA finals in the Heptathlon for the University of Pittsburg. She was also presented with the All American Award for placing in the top 10 in NCAA finals.
She placed sixth out of 13 competitors in the Heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada August of 1994.
Najuma was the youngest contestant on show at 20 years old.
Najuma last outing in National colours was 1995 at the World Athletics Championship at 22 years old she was unceremoniously dumped by the Athletics Association for the 1996 Atlantic Olympics a decision that many felt denied the land of many waters of a second Olympics Medal.
Nujuma is the sister of former National Basketball Player Don Fletcher.
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