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Nigeria’s Olympic Heroes and Heroines

Because the Paris 2024 Olympic Video games method, RexGists Sports activities Further’s ABIODUN ADEWALE ranks the athletes who gained the 27 medals the nation can boast of on the Video games

Nojim Maiyegun (Tokyo 1964)

Born on February 17, 1941 in Lagos, Maiyegun turned Nigeria’s first ever Olympic medallist after profitable a bronze within the males’s mild middleweight (71 kg) class on the 1964 Olympic Video games in Tokyo, Japan. He additionally gained a bronze medal on the 1966 Commonwealth Video games in Kingston, Jamaica, amongst different laurels he gained whereas representing Nigeria. Maiyegun moved to Austria in 1971 to pursue his skilled boxing profession. Nonetheless, he had a brief skilled profession between 1971 and 1973 with solely 16 fights, of which he gained 12, together with 10 knockouts and likewise 4 defeats. In 2012, he revealed that he had misplaced his eyesight.

Isaac Ikhouria (Munich 1972)

Nonetheless in boxing, Nigeria’s second Olympic medal got here courtesy of Ikhouria who gained a bronze medal for the nation in Munich in 1972 within the light-heavyweight class. He was born on October 9, 1947. A 12 months after his medal efficiency in Munich, he gained a gold medal on the 1973 African Video games in Lagos.

Peter Konyegwachie (Los Angeles 1984)

It took 20 years for Nigeria to improve from a bronze medal to a silver medal on the Olympics, which was gained by Konyegwachie on the 1984 Video games in Los Angeles. He claimed it within the males’s featherweight class. Two years later in 1986, Konyegwachie turned professional and gained his first 15 fights earlier than being stopped by a seasoned fighter in 1990. He retired after the bout with a report of 15-1-0. He additionally gained a gold medal on the 1982 Commonwealth Video games in Brisbane, Australia.

Duncan Dokiwari (Atlanta 1996)

Nigeria’s boxing success on the Olympics seems to have continued in 1996 when Dokiwari gained bronze within the males’s super-heavyweight, sharing it with Russia’s Aleksei Lezin, however that was infamously Nigeria’s final medal within the boxing occasion. He turned professional in 1997 and had 28 fights, profitable 25 of them, together with 22 knockouts and three defeats.

Chioma Ajunwa (Atlanta 1996)

Twelve years after Nigeria’s first silver on the Olympics, Ajunwa turned the primary athlete to win a gold medal for the nation and the primary black African lady to win an Olympic gold medal in a discipline occasion after profitable gold within the ladies’s lengthy soar. She landed an enormous first try of seven.12m that was not bettered in six makes an attempt by different opponents, as she completed forward of Fiona Could (Italy) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA). Within the course of, she set three data (nationwide report, African report and championship report). Earlier than turning to athletics, Ajuwa tried her hand at soccer, as a member of the Tremendous Falcons on the inaugural FIFA Girls’s World Cup in 1991.

Enefiok Udo-Obong, 4x400m males (Sydney 2000) and 4×400m males (Athens 2004)

Udo-Obong is the one Nigerian to have gained two Olympic medals, a gold medal on the 2000 Summer time Olympics and a bronze medal on the 2004 Summer time Olympics. In 2000, he ran the anchor leg and led Nigeria from fourth to second in a quartet that additionally included Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye and Sunday Bada. They completed second to the US, however Nigeria was awarded the gold medal 12 years later after the Worldwide Olympic Committee stripped the US of its gold following the late Antonio Pettigrew’s admission that he had used performance-enhancing medicine on the time of the Video games. In 2004, on the Athens Video games, he additionally ran the anchor leg with the likes of James Godday, Musa Audu and Saul Weigopwa and gained a bronze for Nigeria. Udo-Obong at the moment serves because the Technical Director of the Lagos State Athletics Affiliation and can be a author, speaker, businessman and administrator. He has revealed three books about his experiences on the monitor.

Falilat Ogunkoya (Atlanta 1996)

In 1996, Ogunkoya returned dwelling with two medals from the Atlanta Video games after profitable silver within the ladies’s 4x400m relay and bronze within the ladies’s 400m. In doing so, she turned the primary Nigerian to win a person athletics medal on the Olympics. Regardless of ending third behind Marie-José Pérec of France and Cathy Freeman of Australia, her time of 49.10s was adequate for a private greatest and an African report on the time. She additionally gained 4 African titles within the 200m and 400m.

Mary Onyali (Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996)

From 1986 to 2004, Onyali not solely loved an extended profession however was additionally a profitable athlete representing Nigeria. She gained the bronze medal within the 4x100m relay group, which included Beatrice Utondu, Christy Opara-Thompson and Religion Idehen on the 1992 Olympics. She additionally gained a bronze medal within the ladies’s 200m on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Her consecutive Olympic appearances from 1988 to 2004 made her the primary Nigerian to compete in 5 Olympics. She additionally gained the 100m title on the 1994 Commonwealth Video games.

Glory Alozie (Sydney 2000)

Now a Spanish citizen, Alozie additionally gained silver for Nigeria within the ladies’s 100m hurdles with a time of 12.68s on the 2000 Sydney Video games. She has additionally gained the African Championships twice and later gained the European Championships whereas representing Spain in 2002.

Ruth Ogbeifo (Sydney 2000)

Ogbeifo gained Nigeria’s first ever weightlifting medal in 2000, when she competed within the 75kg occasion. She gained a silver medal, with a complete of 245.0kg.

Utondu, Opara-Thompson, Onyali and Idehen (Barcelona 1992)

The primary success for the Nigerian relay group got here from the quartet of Beatrice Utondu, Christy Opara-Thompson, Mary Onyali and Religion Idehen on the 1992 Barcelona Video games, the place they gained bronze within the ladies’s 4×100 metres relay.

Afolabi, Yusuf, Opara and Ogunkoya (Atlanta 1996)

Twelve years after the lads’s 4x400m relay medal, the Nigerian ladies’s quartet of Olabisi Afolabi, Fatima Yusuf, Charity Opara and Falilat Ogunkoya took silver in Atlanta with a time of three:21.04. They completed behind the US (3:20.91), whereas Germany got here third (3:21.14).

Izonritei, Igbineghu (Barcelona 1992)

Earlier than Nigeria might declare extra first medals in different occasions, there have been extra boxing medals for Nigeria on the 1992 Barcelona Video games, due to David Izonritei and Richard Igbineghu, who each gained silver within the males’s heavyweight and males’s super-heavyweight classes respectively.

Uti, Ugbise, Peters, Egbunike (Los Angeles 1984)

Nigeria’s first ever relay medal, led by legendary 400m runner Harmless Egbunike, achieved the primary medal for Nigerians on the 1984 Video games in Los Angeles when Egunike, Sunday Uti, Moses Ugbisie and Rotimi Peters gained bronze within the males’s 4x400m remaining.

Adeniken, Ezinwa, Imoh, Kayode and Ezinwa (Barcelona 1992)

Nigeria’s greatest ever 4x100m relay, Olapade Adeniken, Davidson Ezinwa, Chidi Imoh, Oluyemi Kayode and Osmond Ezinwa (heats solely) completed second to the USA for silver on the 1992 Barcelona Video games. Working in lane 5, they stored up the tempo with easy baton modifications and velocity to complete forward of Nice Britain and Cuba.

Olusoji Fasuba, Uchenna Emedolu, Aaron Egbele and Deji Aliu, (Athens 2004)

After the exploits of Adeniken, Ezinwa, Imoh, Kayode and Ezinwa in Barcelona in 1992, it took one other 12 years and three Olympic Video games for Nigeria to win one other medal within the males’s 4x100m. This time the quartet of Olusoji Fasuba, Uchenna Emedolu, Aaron Egbele and Deji Aliu completed third behind Nice Britain and the USA.

Males’s Soccer Crew 1996

Successful gold within the males’s soccer event on the 1996 Olympic Video games isn’t just a milestone within the historical past of Nigeria’s journey to the Video games, it’s an achievement that simply eclipses all others. That is undoubtedly as a result of calibre of groups that the Nigeria U-23 group defeated to win the gold medal. With victories over Hungary and Japan within the group stage, Nigeria’s job to succeed in the ultimate was made harder within the semi-finals after assembly Brazil, who had defeated them within the group stage. Nigeria confirmed outstanding resilience in opposition to the Brazilians, equalising not as soon as however twice after being 3-1 down on the finish of the primary half. Kanu’s iconic equaliser in damage time and his elegant golden objective in additional time secured Nigeria’s place within the remaining and left the soccer world in awe. The ultimate in opposition to Argentina was no simpler, however due to Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke, Nigeria equalised twice to win the match 3-2.

Males’s Soccer Crew 2008

Underneath the management of coach Samson Siasia, Nigerians will always remember how the Deam Crew was demolished by Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi within the remaining of the lads’s soccer event in Beijing. The group had a superb run from the group stage to the knockouts, beating Belgium 3-0 within the semi-finals. Nonetheless, they settled for silver after dropping the ultimate 1-0.

Males’s Soccer Crew 2016

From being stranded in Atlanta to arriving in Manaus simply hours earlier than their first match in opposition to Japan, Siasia and the 2016 males’s soccer group weathered the storm to win their ‘gold’ bronze medal in Rio. They defeated Honduras 3-2 within the third place match to finish a historic run of medals for Nigeria within the occasion, having gained gold in 1996 and silver in 2008.

Idoko, Kemasuode, Ismaila, Osayomi, Osazuwa (Beijing 2008)

The group of Franca Idoko, Gloria Kemasuode, Halimat Ismaila, Oludamola Osayomi and Agnes Osazuwa final gained Nigeria’s relay medal on the 2008 Video games, taking silver. Since then, neither the male nor feminine groups have gained a relay medal.

Blessing Okagbare (Beijing 2008)

Though she is legendary for the 100m and 200m, Okagbare gained her solely Olympic medal for Nigeria within the lengthy soar, silver. Okagbare was suspended after failing a medication check on July 31, 2021 on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and is at the moment serving a 10-year ban for violating a number of World Athletics anti-doping guidelines. Her suspension expires on July 30, 2032.

Chika Chukwumerije (Beijing 2008)

Among the many 27 medals Nigeria has gained on the Olympics, a primary for taekwondo got here in 2008 when Chukwumerije gained bronze after defeating Akmal Irgashev of Uzbekistan. He first got here to consideration in 2003 throughout the qualifiers for the 2003 African Video games the place he finally gained a bronze medal within the male heavyweight class. He certified for the 2004 Summer time Olympics in Athens however misplaced his first bout to Pascal Gentil, the eventual bronze medal winner. He additionally didn’t make it previous his first bout in 2012.

Mariam Usman (Beijing 2008)

4-time African champion Usman gained Nigeria’s second weightlifting medal by profitable bronze within the +75 on the 2008 Video games.

Blessing Oborududu (Tokyo 2020)

Oborududu, a 14-time African champion, returns to the Paris Olympics and turns into the primary wrestler to win an Olympic medal. He gained silver on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games, which have been held in 2021.

Ese Brume (Tokyo 2020)

Brume is understood for not profitable a medal in any main occasion she has competed in for Nigeria. She is returning to the Paris Olympics hoping to enhance or add to the bronze she gained in 2020. She gained bronze in Tokyo with a soar of 6.97m. She at the moment holds the Commonwealth Video games report, the African junior report and the African report within the occasion.

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