Team Nigeria added a scarcely believable 39 medals (16 Gold, 8 Silver, 15 Bronze) to its kitty after the close of competition on Thursday at the ongoing 12 African Games to move up to 2nd on the medals table with a total of 103 medals.
A number of the medals were from events that had concluded on Wednesday but for which, medal presentation ceremonies held on Thursday.
Of the medals won on Thursday, a sizable number of the gold came courtesy of magnificent performances by the country’s female wrestlers which saw Nigeria pick five of the six gold medals available medals.
Reigning African Games gold medalists Blessing Oborududu (68kg), Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Mercy Genesis (50kg) and Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) were all impressive as they retained their titles, as well as African Champion Blessing Onyebuchi (76kg), while 2018 African champion Bose Samuel (53kg) settled for silver after losing to Cameroon’s Essombe Joseph 2-4 in the final.
All five gold-medalists did not concede a point in their respective final bouts.
In Table Tennis, Olajide Omotayo produced a stunning performance to beat compatriot and Africa’s top-ranked player Quadri Aruna in an all Nigerian final in the men’s singles while Segun Toriola picked bronze following his semifinal loss to Omotayo on Wednesday.
Edem Offiong also picked up a bronze medal in the women’s singles after her run to the semifinal. Egypt’s Dina Meshref retained her title after seeing off Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou in straight sets.
There was also bronze for the duo of Deandra Osabuohien and Oyinlomo Quadre in the Women’s Tennis doubles following their run to the semifinals.
In Badminton, Anuoluwa Opeyori picked up a gold medal in the Men’s singles after he beat Julien Paul of Mauritius while teammate Godwin Olofua and Zambian Owen Mulenga picked up bronze medals for making the semifinals.
There was to be no repeat for Opeyori in the men’s doubles as he settled for silver alongside partner Godwin Olofua as Paul gained a measure of revenge teaming up with compatriot Melvin Appiah to take gold in the final.
In the women’s singles, Dorcas Adesokan picked up silver after a straight sets loss to South Africa’s Johanita Scholtz in the final while teammate Sofiat Obanishola and Egypt’s Doha Hany who both lost in the semifinals on Wednesday were rewarded with bronze medals.
It was also silver for Nigeria in the women’s doubles as the duo of Adesokan and Deborah Ukeh lost in straight sets to the Egyptian pair of Hadia Elsaid and Doha Toufic in the final.
Although Team Nigeria also picked up multiple medals in Boxing, Temiptope Shogbamu was the sole gold medallist after she outclassed Alcinda Panguane of Mozambique in the women’s Welterweight (69kg) final.
There were bronze medals in the women’s category for Temitayo Oshoba (Featherweight, 57kg), Morenikeji Oriyomi (Flyweight 51kg), Esther Adejumola (Middleweight 75kg) and Keji Tijani (Lightweight 60kg).
In the men’s class, Ayoola Osoba settled for silver in the men’s Welterweight (69kg) after he lost to Merven Clair of Mauritius while Solomon Adebayo earned a bronze medal in the Super Heavyweight (+91kg).
Perhaps surprisingly, Nigeria also recorded two gold medals in Canoeing with Ayomide Bello paddling home in 2:37:131secs to win the women’s 1500m race before she repeated the feat with teammate Goodness Foloki in the Women’s C2 in 2:13:160secs.
In Gymnastics, Devon Eke followed up Wednesday’s gold medal in the Pommel Horse with a bronze in the men’s Parallel Bars.
Fatima Otiameh was unstoppable in the women’s Weightlifting event bagging a hat-trick of gold medals in the 81kg (219kg), Snatch (97kg) and Clean-Jerk (122kg). Teammate Laidi Taiwo also made three trips to the podium in the same category taking silver in the Clean-Jerk (121kg) and two bronze medals in the 81kg (216kg) and Snatch (95kg).
Reigning African Champion in the women’s long jump Ese Brume narrowly missed out on Janice Josephs Games Record of 6.70m by a centimetre as she won gold with a leap of 6.69m. Ghana’s Deborah Acquah (6.37m) and South Africa’s Lynique Beneke (6.30m) settled for silver and bronze respectively.
Chioma Ajunwa evoked memories of her more famous namesake with a gold medal winning performance in the women’s Discus Throw as her 59.91m throw proved unpassable for the rest of the field. Nigeria’s other representatives in the event Ifeoma Anumba (53.45m) and Princess Kara (49.85m) were 4th and 5th respectively.
The women’s Heptathlon event returned a silver medal for Team Nigeria as Ruth Kemi Francis finished in second place behind Christiane Koala of Burundi while Tunisia’s Nada Charoudi came in third.
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved three penalties for Nigeria’s female football team, the Falconets, as they emerged champions in the women’s football event following a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Cameroon in the final.
More prospects of medals await on Friday after the duo of Divine Oduduru (20.45secs) and Ogho-oghene Egwero (20.76secs) won their respective heats to qualify for the final of the men’s 200m although Emmanuel Arowolo (21.01secs) missed out after a 4th place finish in the semifinals.
Rose Mary Chukwuma will be Nigeria’s sole representative in the women’s 200m final after her time of 23.67secs proved enough although she placed 4th in her heats. Mercy Ntia Obong, meanwhile, came in third in her heats but her time of 23.83secs wasn’t good enough to seal qualification for the final.
Egypt still lead the medals standings after 14 days of competition with a total of 229 medals (79 Gold, 87 Silver, 63 Bronze) followed by Nigeria who have 103 medals (40 Gold, 28 Silver, 35 Bronze) and South Africa with 77 medals (32 Gold, 24 Silver, 21 Bronze).