Anyika Onuora

Anyika is a British sprint track and field athlete, with an impressive record as a Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic medallist. 

She was part of the triumphant women’s 4 x 400m relay team that won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The win helped Team GB surpass London 2012’s medal tally of 65 and this was the first women’s relay medal in this category since Barcelona in 1992. 

Anyika’s story is also one of survival and comeback. Ten months before she won an Olympic bronze in 2016 she was in hospital with life-threatening malaria. She moved from such a serious illness in hospital to the Olympic podium in less than 40 weeks. She has used this experience, not only to drive her ambition forward, but also to raise awareness of malaria. 

She grew up in Liverpool and often comments on the ‘huge network of support’ she has always enjoyed in the city. After attending Archbishop Blanch School, she studied economics here at LJMU, graduating in 2008, and was in the very first class of scholars in the new Sports Scholarship programme that launched in 2004 alongside athletes including British gymnast Beth Tweddle. She credits LJMU as an ‘incredible’ university and a formative time in her life that allowed her to develop skills both on and off the track.  

“When I got to uni, I never gave myself a chance to deviate from the plan of becoming a world class athlete. I didn’t have the time for anything else. I was training, I was studying, I was working, I was racing…the university was really lenient with me, especially when I brought a medal back with me.”

– Anyika Onuora speaking in her ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview

She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2017 at a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral and presented by Beth Tweddle, for her outstanding achievement in elite sports.

She has returned to the university on many occasions to talk to sports scholars, sport interns and staff from student sport societies and the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences about her experiences as an LJMU Sports Scholar, inspiring younger athletes who want to follow in her footsteps.

Most recently Anyika released her book, ‘My Hidden Race’, focused on the realities of being a black female athlete during the era of Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement. She shared her experiences with staff and students during an Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity event in November 2022.

Anyika is also featured in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.