Nigeria, undoubtedly rich in talents in the field of sports finishes every year with laurels won by her talented and hardworking athletes in various fields of sports. Below is how Nigerian athletes fared this year.
Nigeria witnessed a third-place success at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Egypt earlier this year (June-July, 2019). A 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the third-place match was all Nigeria needed to claim bronze at the continental showpiece. The Super Falcons, on the other hand, finished the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in the second round.
After a fourth-place finish at the CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Nigeria, the Golden Eaglets were guaranteed a place in the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil. However, the second round of 16 loss to the Netherlands thwarted Nigeria’s hope of claiming a record sixth FIFA U17 World Cup title.
For the Nigerian U20 teams, the Flying Eagles finished the FIFA U20 World Cup with a second round of 16 defeat to fellow West Africans, Senegal, 2-1. However, they would go on to clinch silver at the 12th All Africa Games in Morocco. The Super Falconets, on the other hand, claimed gold at the 12th AAG, after a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Cameroon in the final.
However, both the male and female football teams of Nigeria failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.
In the history of Nigerian basketball, the country has never witnessed success in the sport as this year. The women’s national basketball team won the 2019 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket Championship in Senegal after beating the host nation 60-55 in the final to become back to back champions. D’Tigers, on the other hand, did not win the FIBA World Cup in China but sealed automatic ticket to next year’s Olympic ticket in the Classification series of the World Cup beating top teams like South Korea and China at the global tournament.
Blessing Okagbare, Divine Oduduru, Ese Brume, and a host of other Nigerian athletes were outstanding this year. Okagbare was back in business this year with victories in the Diamond League and US Meet. Oduduru’s record-breaking victories at the Big 12 Championship and the Micheal Jackson’s Invitational in Waco, Texas was equally impressive. While Ese Brume’s bronze medal finish at the World Championship in Doha did not go unnoticed. At the 12th AAG, Athletics won Nigeria 10 gold, seven silver, and six bronze medals.
Nigerian boxers were impressive at the 12th AAG, clinching a total of one gold, one silver and five bronze. Anthony Joshua’s victory over Andy Ruiz Jnr in Saudi Arabia on December 7, 2019, saw the Nigerian boxer reclaim his heavyweight championship title belts after a shock defeat to the Mexican-American on June 1, 2019.
Weightlifting accounted for the majority of Nigerian medals at the 12th AAG. A total of 16 gold, 13 silver, and 18 bronze placed the sport high on the Nigerian medals table for this year.
Ultimate Fighting Championships
The duo of Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya drew the attention of the globe this year after emerging victorious in their fighting categories. Kamaru Usman became the first African to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) belt after beating Tyron Woodley on Saturday, March 2, 2019, to win the UFC 235 belt. While Adesanya followed suit with an incredible knockout victory against Robert Whittaker on October 6, 2019, to claim the middleweight belt of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Nigerian female wrestlers were equally outstanding this year. Odunayo Adekuoroye won bronze at the 2019 Wrestling World Championship in Kazakhstan. She went on to be ranked as the second-best female wrestler in the world in her 57kg category. Other female wrestlers in the country such as Blessing Oborududu emerged 4th (68kg), Blessing Onyebuchi (15th in 76kg), and Mercy Genesis (18th in 50kg).
As expected, Nigerian Table Tennis did not fall short to the expectation of Nigerians this year. 2 gold, 3 silver, and four bronze medals at the 12th AAG were quite impressive.
12th All Africa Games
The peak moment for Nigerian sports in 2019 came at the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco. Team Nigeria finished second on the medals table with a total of 121 medals consisting of 44 gold, 30 silver, and 47 bronze.
Featured Image Source: Daily Express
Got something you want to read about on our platform? Contact us: email@example.com