There may be an assumption that there was very little to cheer about in Nigerian sports in 2021, but indeed there were some breathtaking and exultant moments.
The greatest quality of many Nigerian athletes over the years has been a mastery of surmounting significant challenges to produce superlative performances than imagined.
As PREMIUM TIMES continues its retrospective look into the outgoing year, here are five of the record-breaking moments in Nigerian sports for 2021:
Diamond League victory for Amusan
After the harrowing experience of narrowly missing out on a podium finish at both the World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Tobi Amusan got a befitting consolation at the 2021 Diamond League.
Her record-breaking 12.42secs.victory in the 100m hurdles event of the last leg of the Diamond League in Zurich saw her enter the history books of Nigerian sports
The Ogun State-born athlete became the first Nigerian athlete ever to win a Diamond League trophy since the inception of the league in 2010.
Soaring Aruna Quadri
Though things failed to go as planned at the Tokyo Olympics, Aruna continues to show he is the man to beat not just in Nigeria but at far as African Table Tennis.
In the outgoing year, Aruna became the highest-ranked African player in history when he rose to 13th place in the world in November. He would, however, finish the year in 14th place.
Quadri also became the first African ever to play up to the quarter-finals of the ITTF World Championships in Houston, Texas, and the World Table Tennis Finals in Singapore in November.
Oborududu blessed Nigeria with an Olympic medal in wrestling
Nigeria did not achieve the projection of a handful of medals from wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics, but it wasn’t a total disappointment for Team Nigeria either.
Blessing Oborududu blessed the country with the first Olympic wrestling medal thanks to her doggedness and determination, competing in the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling category.
The 32-year-old Nigerian was stopped from claiming the ultimate gold by American fighter Tamyra Stock-Mensah in the final.
Hat trick for D’Tigress
Outside of the Super Falcons in female football circles, there is hardly any Nigerian team that has dominated a major sporting competition like the national senior women’s basketball team, who won a third consecutive AfroBasket title in 2021.
Nigeria’s D’Tigress showed they were the Queens of the African game, with a dominant display at the AfroBasket Championships in Cameroon.
Brume breaks 25-year record
Ese Brume broke the 7.12m African long jump record hitherto held by Chioma Ajunwa in 2021.
However, while Ajunwa’s feat earned her a gold medal at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Brume’s improved mark of 7.17m was in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Though Brume could not replicate the mark in Tokyo, she did enough to win a bronze for Nigeria at the Olympics. It is worthy to note that Brume’s 7.17m mark was the number one jump in the world for 2021.
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