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#IWD2019: Top 10 Female Athletes

Women are a force to reckon with in today’s advancing digital world.

At the helm of every sector in every nation of the world is a woman who has proven herself to be a leader in the global scene.

In Nigeria, women are taking on more responsibilities in every division of our country’s booming economy, and are quickly closing the gap between female-led enterprises and those run by men.

In sports, female teams in Nigeria have brought a lot more attention to the country than their male counterparts.

Today being the International Women’s Day, Connect Nigeria brings you a list of ten (10) female athletes in Nigeria who have been astounding representatives of their country in the past year.

Asisat Oshoala

Super Falcons, Asisat Oshoala, is an incredible footballer. The Nigerian is currently on the books for top La Liga side, Barcelona, and her reputation is on the rise as she is quickly climbing the ranks to become one of the world’s best female footballers.

The two-time CAF Women’s Player of the Year is also a philanthropist. Her eponymous foundation for indigent children has impacted a great number of kids living in Lagos.

Evelyn Akhator

Evelyn Akhator is a Nigerian pro-basketballer for Turkish side, Besiktas. The forward/center was drafted by the Dallas Wings as the 3rd overall pick in the 2017 Women National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Akhator is a 2017 Afrobasket Gold medalist with D’Tigress, and she was also part of Nigeria’s delegation to the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, where she averaged 12.6 points, 9 rebounds and 1.4 assists during Nigeria’s campaign at the tournament.

Adora Elonu

Adora Nnenna Elonu is a Nigerian-American pro-basketballer for WNBA’s Atlanta Dreams. The 29-year-old forward was part of D’Tigress’ 2017 Afrobasket Gold winning team, and the 2015 Afrobasket Bronze medal squad.

Elonu began playing basketball professionally in high school, before she joined the Texas A & M University in 2008, where she won the 2011 NCAA Championship.

Elonu captained D’Tigress to the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, where for the first time in history an African team broke through the group stage of the tournament.

Simi Adeagbo

Simi Adeagbo is Africa’s first-ever female athlete in the sport of skeleton. The multi-athletic queen of the ice is also the first Nigerian to compete at the Winter Olympics.

Simi’s story is one of courage and determination. Despite been knocked down a lot of times, the Nigerian never gave up on her dream. A dream that has etched her name in the history books for hundreds of years to come.

Blessing Okagbare

Blessing Okagbare is one of Nigeria’s most decorated female athletes of all time. The sprint queen has, over the years, dominated a large number of local and international events, including the commonwealth games, Olympics, and the IAAF World Championships.

Okagbare is a 2-time Commonwealth gold medalist, 3-time All-Africa Games gold medalist, 6-time African Championships gold medalist, 2015 IAAF World Relay gold medalist, and an Olympic silver medal athlete.

Odunayo Adekuoroye

Odunayo Adekuoroye is a two-time commonwealth Gold medalist, and a World Championships silver medalist in the sport of wrestling.

In 2014, Odunayo won the commonwealth games freestyle 53kg event. At the World Championships in Las Vegas, she came in third in the 53kg category. In 2017, Odunayo won the piece of silverware at the Paris World Championships in the 55kg class.

2018 was the year Odunayo took on her biggest challenge yet in the 57kg class. The Nigerian pulled a huge Commonwealth Games upset to win the gold medal in the 57kg category.

Esther Oyema

Esther Oyema has never let her prevailing circumstance affect her goals.

Oyema is the first female powerlifter to ever receive an award from the Commonwealth community.

The brave Nigerian has successfully and consistently broken and set new world records in every commonwealth game she has featured in.

She won gold in 2010 (Delhi, India), 2014 (Glasgow, Scotland, 126kg), and in 2018 (Gold Coast, Australia), where she set her latest world record by lifting 131kg on her second attempt at the women’s lightweight category of the Para Powerlifting event.

Eniola Aluko

Eniola Aluko is a professional footballer for Serie A Club, Juventus. Aluko was born in Lagos, Nigeria on February 21, 1987.

Her family moved to Birmingham in England when she was one. While growing up, she enjoyed playing football with her brother, Sone Aluko, and his friends.

She started her career at Leafield Athletic Ladies, and eventually played for Birmingham City Ladies’ youth team.

Aluko opted to represent the English national women’s team where she made 102 appearances between 2004 and 2016, and scored 33 goals.

The brilliant forward has won countless awards both with club and country, thus deserving a position on our list.

Joy Udoh-Gabriel

Born on June 2, 1999, Joy Udo-Gabriel is a sprinter who was the breakout female athlete of 2018. Udo-Gabriel won the 4 × 100m relay at the 2018 African Championships. She also won a bronze medal in the 100m event.

She made her international debut for Nigeria at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she broke her Personal Best (PB) to 11.42s in the 100m event.

Also at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Udo-Gabriel, partnered with Africa’s 200m record holder, Okagbare, Tobi Amusan and Rosemary Chukwuma, to win bronze in the 4x100m event.

Ice Queens (Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga)

Our list would be incomplete without these three amazing women who shook the world with their courageous feat in 2018.

The amazing trio of Seun Adigun, and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, are Africa’s first-ever Olympic bobsledders.

Featured image source: AIT

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Achem Samuel

Achem Samuel is a writer and a musician, he is passionate about God and also an ardent fan of tech, sports and music.

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