The biggest sporting event in the globe, the Olympic Games, officially kicked off last week, and Nigerian athletes have participated in some events already.
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Nigerian table tennis queen, Funke Oshoanike, bade the Olympics goodbye after losing in the preliminary stage of the women’s singles to United States’ Juan Liu 1-4(7-11.3-11.4-11.13-11,4-11).
The 45-year-old Nigerian athlete has featured in seven Olympics and when quizzed about the possibility of making it eight Olympic outings, she said:
“Paris 2024? I’m going to be there but as a spectator…I never gave up, I’m here today and I’m so happy that I could play because I was not expecting it. I just lost, I’m supposed to be kind of sad, but I’m happy that we can be here at the Olympics. This is the spirit of the Games, you lose or win but we are all Olympians.”
Following her exploits on the table, Oshoanike made history as the first woman to be inducted into the prestigious 7th club of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). The 7th club is only meant for players that have featured in seven Olympic Games. Oshoanike now joins fellow Nigerian, Segun Toriola, as the only Africans to have made it into the 7th club.
In the men’s singles event, Olajide Omotayo, despite showing flashes of brilliance, lost to Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia 0-4 (7-11,9-11,6-11,5-11), in straight games of the men’s Table Tennis event.
Nigeria’s only win at the Olympics so far was recorded by the country’s highest-ranked women’s table tennis player, Offiong Edem. A convincing 4-1 (11-8,11-9,11-9,9-11,11-4) win over Hungary’s Dora Madarasz in the preliminary round, set the Nigerian up against USA’s Lily Zhang whom she lost to in straight set, in the second round.
Uche Eke also made history as the first Nigerian Gymnast to represent the country at the Olympics. Eke who dyed his hair green in commemoration of his feat, finished with a total score of 74.765, placing him 36th overall in the conclusion of Subdivision 2.
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In the rowing event, Esther Toko in a time of 9:07.54s finished fourth and could not make it into the quartet finals, but she applied more strength in the heat 1 of women’s Singles Sculls Semifinal E/F, finishing third in 9:07.70s to qualify for the E final.
The duo of Godwin Olofua and Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori at the Badminton Sport Plaza in Tokyo lost to Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 2-0 (21-2, 21-7) in the Group play stage of the Men’s Doubles.
They would go on to lose to the Danish duo of Kim Astrup and Skaarup Rasmussen 2 – 0 (21-7, 21-10), to wrap up Nigeria’s action in the men’s Doubles. In the women’s Singles of Badminton, Dorcas Adesokan lost to her Spanish opponent, Clara Azurmendi, 2-0 (21-10, 21-2), in her first Group match.
Elizabeth Anyanacho in the women’s 67kg Taekwondo event lost to Turkey’s Nur Tartar (12-7) in their Round 16 fight.
The Nigerian national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, lost their first Group game of the Olympics to the Australian national team, 84-65 points. They will look forward to their next game on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, against Germany who also lost their first game against Italy.
The action continued in the Nigeria Professional Football League as Akwa United edged closer to being crowned league champions with an impressive 3-0 win against Jigawa Golden Stars in Uyo on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Strikes from Ubong Friday, Charles Atshimene and Wisdom Fernando gifted the Uyo-based side all three points.
See Full NPFL Results Below:
- Akwa United 3-0 Jigawa GS
- Nasarawa Utd 4-0 Sunshine stars
- Enyimba FC 2-1 MFM FC
- Kano Pillars 1-0 Abia Warriors
- Adamawa Utd 1-1 Rangers Int’
- Plateau Utd 0-0 Lobi Stars
- Rivers United 2-0 Ifeanyi Ubah
- Warri wolves 1-0 Wikki Tourists
- Heartland FC 0-0 Kwara Utd
- Katsina Utd 2-0 Dakkada FC
Featured Image Source: Leadership News
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