There are yet a few things that have the power to unite Nigerians. One is our frequent and rather justified need to complain about the country’s deplorable state. Another is our love and support for our music and, of course, today’s focus, our patriotic approach to sports. In this article, we’ll be considering Nigeria’s performance at the just concluded Commonwealth Games (Birmingham 2022) and recognising the champions that made us proud and united us once again (even if it’s only momentarily).
Nigerians are only ever “proudly Nigerian” when in the diaspora or when a minority representing the nation is making waves. In any case, for both the “proud Nigerians” and the actual Team Nigeria, it was a record-shattering galore at the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The Giant of Africa hauled home a total of 35 medals, 12 of them being Gold medals, landing the country at 7th place out of 72 nations. Absolutely remarkable! Notably yet unsurprisingly, all 12 of the gold medals were won by female athletes. The question we are all asking is, where exactly were the men? Perhaps the saying is true. Maybe the future is female after all.
Below are a few of The Nigerian Champions and record breakers of the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022:
1. Tobi AmusanEmbed from Getty Images
It’s one thing to break a world record. It’s another to break two world records only a few weeks apart. Over the past few weeks, the name Tobi Amusan has resounded across Nigeria and perhaps the entire world, and for good reason. Born on the 23rd of April, 25-year-old Tobi Amusan is a Nigerian athlete who specialises in sprints and 100m hurdles, the same in which she broke world records twice.
Although a recipient of several medals, a new light seems to have shone on Tobi this time. Representing Nigeria in the 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan went at it like lightning, clinching the gold in only 12.30 seconds and annihilating the former 16-year-long record of 12.65 seconds. 16 years long! Tobi, alongside three others, in the 4×100m relay also won gold, making it the first-ever gold medal of the country in that very event. Tobi’s achievements show us that no height is unattainable with faith and, of course, hard work.
2. Ese BrumeEmbed from Getty Images
A native of Delta State, Ese Brume started her sports career in 2008, with her speciality in the long jump. Now 26 years old, Ese Brume is a multi-record breaker, and in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, she certainly did not disappoint. Not only snagging the gold medal, but Brume also broke the game’s record by becoming the first female athlete to reach and exceed the 7.00m mark.
3. Goodness NwachukwuEmbed from Getty Images
Goodness Nwachukwu, like her peers, didn’t just clinch a gold medal but also broke a world record in her discus throw, and she did it rather outstandingly. For her first throw, she already breaks the existing world record with a distance of 34.84m. With her second attempt, Nwachukwu goes ahead to knock our socks off by upping her game and breaking yet another record with a larger distance of 36.56m. Can we give it up for Goodness? The girl who breaks her very own records.
4. Alice OluwafemiayoEmbed from Getty Images
Alice Oluwafemiayo is Nigeria’s supergirl and para-powerlifter who does not let surrounding circumstances define her. Oluwafemiayo went ahead to shatter the world record and perhaps shame the hulk himself by lifting a whopping 155kg.
5. Eucharia IyiaziEmbed from Getty Images
Eucharia Iyiazi, aged 48, is a longtime Nigerian Paralympian and serial medalist in both the shot put and discus throw events. This time around Iyiazi emerges as the latest champion in the women’s F55-57 shot put category and not only takes the gold but sets an outstanding new record of 10.03m.
Other laudable champions who won gold medals are:
- Odunayo Adekuoroye, who triumphed in the women’s freestyle wrestling, 57kg,
- Adijat Olarinoye in weightlifting women’s 55kg,
- Blessing Oborududu in women’s wrestling freestyle, 68kg,
- Chioma Onyekwere in women’s discus throw,
- Rafiatu Lawal in weightlifting women’s 59kg,
- Genesis Miesinnei Mercy in wrestling women’s freestyle 50 kg, and finally,
- Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha who set a new African record in the women’s 4 x 100m relay in 42.10 seconds.
Everyone certainly deserves accolades and recognition. The silver medalists, the bronze medalists and every single participant. Team Nigeria pulled off such an excellent performance, and I (speaking on behalf of all “proud Nigerians”) hope to see more of it.