Team Nigeria’s women 4x100m relay team yesterday broke a jinx to win an elusive 4x100m women’s relay gold medal at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Inspired by world and Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles champion, Tobi Amusan, Nigeria’s women relay team won with a new African record of 42.10 seconds which erased the one-month-old 42.22 seconds African record they set in Oregon, USA, at the World Athletics championships.
World and Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles champion and record holder, Amusan, started the historic run with a brilliant first leg before handing over to Favour Ofili who ensured Nigeria maintained the advantage before giving the baton to Chukwuma, the individual 100m finalist.
Rosemary Chukwuma ran the curve perfectly and handed over to reigning Nigerian 100m queen, Nzubechi Nwokocha in first position.
The 21-year-old Nwokocha maintained the advantage despite the threat by Great Britain’s anchor leg runner, Darly Neita, to bring home Team Nigeria’s first women’s 4 x 100m relay gold.
However, the situation wasn’t the same for the men’s team who settled for bronze in the same event category. Gold and silver places went to England and Trinidad & Tobago.
The quartet of Udodi Onwuzurike, Favour Ashe, Alaba Akintola and Raymond Ekevwo also made history with the bronze medal win.
Meanwhile, Tobiloba Ayomide Amusan has made history as the first Nigeria track and field athlete and the second in history to successfully defend a Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles title.
The petite 25-year-old Nigerian also set a new 12.30 seconds Games record on the way to winning the event’s gold.
Amusan, the reigning World champion and world record holder in the event, also became the first Nigerian track and field athlete to win a gold medal at two editions of the Games.
With the gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Amusan has now become the only Nigerian athlete in history to complete a grand slam of titles at the continental, Commonwealth and world levels after winning gold at the 22nd African Athletics championships in Mauritius in June and the World Athletics championships in Oregon, USA, last month.
Amusan’s gold has now brought to 10 the number of gold medals won by Nigeria so far, one short of the 11 won in 1994, 2010 and 2014.
In the women’s long jump event, Ese Brume leaped a distance of 6.99m to win gold medal. She had a no jump on her first attempt but bounced back right away to jump 6.99m to take the lead in the final and set a new Games record.
She added no jump, 6.99m, 6.81m, 6.99m, and 6.96m in her subsequent jumps but none of her opponents could match or surpass her, thereby securing gold with a jump to spare.
However, on her very last attempt, Brume jumped seven meters for another Games Record to become the first woman to jump that far in the history of the Commonwealth Games.
Born April 23, 1997.
She attended Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu Ode.
She recently won the 2022 World Athletics Championships 100 metres hurdles gold medal, setting a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semifinal, followed up by a wind-assisted 12.06 seconds.
She also won Diamond League Trophy in Zurich in 2021 in the 100m hurdles, becoming the first Nigerian to do so, and also breaking the then African record held by Nigeria’s Glory Alozie in the process.
Favour Chukwuka Ofili
She was born on December 31, 2002.
She holds the national record and the national Under-20 record over the 200m with a time of 21.96 seconds, thus making her the first Nigerian female athlete to run under the 22 seconds barrier.
She ran 10.93s in the 100m at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge, LA, on April 30, 2022, and became the first female NCAA athlete to run sub-22s and sub-11s.
She currently competes at Louisiana State University.
She held the NCAA collegiate record with her time of 21.96s in the 200m until Abby Steiner broke the record at NCAA Championships with a time of 21.80s.
She was born on December 5, 2001.
She gained her first international experience at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia where she won a bronze medal behind the teams from England and Jamaica with the Nigerian 4 × 100 m relay team in 42.75 seconds.
In 2019, she won triple gold at the Junior African Championships in Abidjan with 11.62 seconds and 23.81 seconds finishes over 100 m and 200 m respectively, and in 45.56 seconds with the Nigerian 4 × 100 m relay team. In early May, she ran in the 4 × 100 m relay for Nigeria at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama with 45.07 seconds in the first round.
Then she took part in the African Games for the first time in Rabat and reached the final of the 200m, where she did not start. She also won gold with the Nigerian relay team in 44.16 seconds.
Born April 7, 2001, Nwokocha is a multiple national champion over 100 metres.
In 2021, she posted a new personal best time in the 100m of 11.09 seconds and, in the process, became the first Nigerian athlete to qualify for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She also won the 100m at the National Sports Festival in Benin.
At the Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics Women’s 100 metres, she ran a new personal best time of 11.00 seconds in her heat to qualify for the semi-finals.
In 2022, she came sixth in the final of the NCAA championship in both the 100 metres and the 200 metres. She entered both the 100m and the 200m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships and reached the semi-finals at both events. She also won the Nigerian National Championships over 100 metres.
Buhari Celebrates Team Nigeria As medal haul Increases to 35
As the curtain draws on the 22nd Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari celebrates the athletes that represented Nigeria gloriously in the competition.
The president in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina joined millions of other sports loving Nigerians to watch some of the colourful and spectacular moments in the 11-day competition, which had no fewer than 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories, competing in 280 medal events.
Saluting the memorable display of Team Nigeria athletes, the President commended the 94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events, and for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to our faces by breaking world, national and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career.
With 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze harvested already on the late evening of the 10th day of the Games, and more medals likely for the country on the last day, the President thanks the shining stars of Nigeria for competing among the best in the world and displaying the God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end.
According to the President, it is noteworthy that majority of the medals so far, including 12 gold for the country, were championed by our talented young women and girls, including multi medalist Tobi Amusan (100m Women’s Hurdle and 4x100m Relay), Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha (4x100m Relay); Miesinnei Mercy Genesis (50 kg), Blessing Oborududu (57 kg) and Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) in Women’s Freestyle wrestling; as well as Adijat Adenike Olarinoye (55kg) and Rafiatu Folashade Lawal (59kg) in Women’s weightlifting.
Team Nigeria’s Success indicate Our Sports Is On The Rise Again, says minister
Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr Sunday Dare, has lauded Team Nigeria athletes and officials on their record-breaking performance at the XXII Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
He described Team Nigeria’s success in Birmingham as an indication that Nigerian sports is on the rise again in spite of the global economic downturn.
Nigeria won a total of 35 medals made up of a record 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze medals to rank seventh on the medal table.
Team Nigeria is also the first ranked African nation at the Games, also a record.
Many new records were set as old Commonwealth records were broken by Nigerian athletes. Jinxes of over 4 decades of no medals in some sports were also broken.
“The performance of Team Nigeria is excellent, phenomenal and commanding. A signpost of better performances in the future. Congratulations to Team Nigeria athletes and officials on their history-making feat at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The athletes have, once again demonstrated the true Nigerian spirit”, said the Minister in his congratulatory message.
“Our success in Birmingham is an indication that Nigerian sports is on the rise again inspite of the global economic downturn. Our youth have shown the resilience Nigerians are known for and we, as a Sports Ministry, will ensure we continue with the reforms we started in 2019 and which have resulted in the geometrical growth of the sector” the Honourable Minister concluded.