• Amusan, Brume, Iyiazi, Lawal set Commonwealth records


• Buhari celebrates Team Nigeria as medals increase to 35


Patrick Kelechi, ‘Seun Ibukun-Oni



DAILY COURIER – Team Nigeria record their best ever outing at the Commonwealth Games in 72 years, at the ongoing edition of the Games in Birmingham on Sunday.

Nigeria is seventh on the medals standing with 12 golds, nine silver and 14 bronze making 35 medals in total.

This feat is historic in Nigeria’s sporting participation and more intriguing as majority of the medals, including 12 gold for the country, were won by the nation’s talented young women and girls.

Nigeria’s second best outing – 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals – was at the Glasgow edition of the Games in 2014.

On the honours call include: 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.

Other gold medalists are Folashade Oluwafemiayo, Women’s heavyweight Para Powerlifting, Eucharia Iyiazi, Women’s shot put, Chioma Onyekwere and Goodness Nwachukwu in Women’s Discus throw, and Ese Brume, long jump.

Fresh from setting a new world record and turning the new world champion at the World Athletics Champion in Oregon, hurdler Tobi Amusan set the tone on Sunday as she claimed one of the three gold medals Team Nigeria needed to win to shatter their performance of 28 years ago.

Amusan successfully defended the 100m hurdles title she won in 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia to become the first Nigerian athlete in history to successfully defend a Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles title as she finished the final in 12.30secs to claim Nigeria’s 10th gold medal in Birmingham.

A notable contrast would be that unlike in 1994, the men dominated proceedings, winning nine out of the 11 gold medals at the global tournament, and winning 31 out of the total 37 medals, while the women won just six.

In this year’s edition, however, the women have grabbed all the headlines, and have rewritten the history books. And what better way to do that than to win the first gold medal of the tournament as Adijat Olarinoye set a new Commonwealths Games record to claim gold in weightlifting.

Weightlifting has proven to be a ‘goldmine’ event for Nigeria just like in 1994 when six of the 11 gold medals came from the category with the men winning all.

Oliver Toby (152.5kg), Najite Ogboju (125.0kg), Moji Oluwa (165.0kg and 295.0kg), Lawal Riliwan (132.5kg), and Christopher Onyezier (155.0kg) all set Games Record in the tournament in Victoria, Canada.

Iyiazi wins gold, sets Games record

Nigeria’s Eucharia Iyiazi won gold in women’s F55-57 Shot Put final at the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on Saturday.

Iyiazi threw a new Commonwealth Games record of 10.03m to win the gold medal for Nigeria.

Brume reclaims Long Jump Gold in record-breaking fashion

African long jump record holder Ese Brume who reclaimed the Commonwealth Games long jump title in record-breaking fashion Sunday evening at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

The Nigerian, 26, who first won the title in 2014 as an U20 athlete was absent in the Gold Coast, Australia four years ago to defend her title.

With a World Athletics Championships silver last month in Oregon, USA, Brume returned to the Commonwealth Games stage with just one thing on her mind: to reclaim her title and she did it by breaking the 6.97m Games record held by Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson twice.

Brume began her journey to the top of the podium with a foul but returned with a big bang in the second, a huge 6.99m to set a new Games record.

She equalled her Games record in the fourth round again after jumping 6.81m in the third before finally putting the icing on her cake with Games’ first ever 7m jump.

The World Athletics Championships indoor and outdoor silver medalist hit the 7m mark to set her second Games record of the night and become the second Nigerian track and field athlete in Commonwealth Games history to win gold medal at two editions of the Games.

She is also the third Nigerian track and field athlete to win at least two gold medals at the Games after Blessing Okagbare (100m and 200m in 2014) and Tobi Amusan (100m hurdles, 2018 and 2022 and 4x100m in 2022).

Brume is the second Nigerian woman to win the long jump gold medal after Modupe Oshikoya first won it in 1974 to become the first Nigerian woman to win the gold medal at the Games.

Wrestlers Adekuoroye, Oborududu retain C’Wealth title

Wrestlers Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu and Esther Kolawole increased Nigeria’s medal haul to 16 at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after the duo claimed gold in their respective wrestling event on Friday.

Three-time world championships medallist, Adekuoroye, won her third straight gold medal at the Commonwealth Games after beating Anshu Malik from India 7-3 in the final of the women’s 57kg freestyle wrestling event.

Before now, Adekuoroye won gold in the 53kg freestyle category at the 2014 edition of the games in Glasgow as well as gold in the 57kg freestyle category.

Malik, the top seed in her category at Birmingham 2022, started cautiously against Adekuoroye.

The experienced Adekuoroye opened the scoring with a two-point throwdown and doubled her lead just before the break to take a 4-0 lead heading into the second period.

The young Indian wrestler, meanwhile, struggled to find a way through the Nigerian’s strong defence and only won her first point of the bout through a passivity penalty on Adekuoroye.

The Nigerian eventually won the bout 7-3 to win her third straight gold at the CWG. The match originally ended 6-4, but a point got swapped due to an unsuccessful challenge by Anshu’s camp after the match ended.

Oborududu also edged Linda Morais from Canada in the women’s 68kg category final. The feat sees her become a two times Commonwealth Games Champion.

Nigeria’s quartet of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha won gold in the women’s 4 x 100 relay race.

The quartet ran fervently to clinch another gold in the 4x100m women’s relay event on Sunday with a time of 42.10s, thereby, setting another African record.

The women’s victory in the relay was coming just after Amusan successfully defended her title at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday in the women’s 100m hurdles final.

Amusan was able to run a Games record of 12.30s, setting other records as well, and becoming the first world champion to win gold and the first Nigerian athlete to do the same.

Amusan was one of the favourites to get the gold at the tournament following her impressive showing at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the United States, which saw her break multiple records to win Nigeria’s first gold at the World Championships.

The 25-year-old ran a blistering 12.30secs to claim the gold and also set a new Games Record in Birmingham.

Speaking after her victory, Amusan said, ““Honestly, I believe in my abilities but I was not expecting a world record at these championships.

“The goal is always just to execute well and get the win. So the world record is a bonus. I knew I had it in me but I could not believe it when I saw it on the screen after the semis.

“Before the final, I just tried to stay calm and to do my best. I took a deep breath knowing that I have some goals to accomplish and it worked pretty well. I knew it was very fast but not this fast.”

Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari has celebrated the athletes that represented Nigeria gloriously in the competition.

The President in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, on Sunday night, 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, nine 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 thanked 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.

‘‘We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever and for me this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,” the President said.

The President also lauded the coaching crew and team officials for the passion towards the development of sports in the country, assuring them that history will remember them for all their contributions in making our athletes shine in the international arena.

Another star was Sprinter Favour Ofili who won the silver medal in the final of the Women’s 200 meters race at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 19-year-old clocked 22.51secs to finish behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah (22.02secs) and above third-placed Christine Mboma of Namibia who ran 22.80secs at the Alexander Stadium on Saturday night.

The race was the last event of day nine at the Commonwealth Games and saw Nigeria claim its 30th medal to finish sixth on the medal table.

Mary Onyali was the first Nigerian athlete to have competed in that division in 1994.