Winning is like honey; very delicious and everyone wants a taste of it. So, whenever there is a sporting event like the Olympics, FIFA world cup or World Athletics Championship, and Nigerian participants give a sterling performance the entire nation rises up to savour the moment. In the spirit of celebration, Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal identifies 5 memorable Nigerian sporting moments.
Brief World Boxing Council Champion
Popularly called the Nigerian Nightmare, Simon Okon Peter became the World Boxing Council championship on March 8, 2008 after defeating Oleg Maskaev in the heavyweight category. He made headlines as one of the best boxers in the world at that period. The 6’2’ inches boxer lost his belt to Vitali Klitschko on October 11, 2008. He was the heavyweight champion for seven months. Notwithstanding, Nigerians appreciated the moment.
1st Olympic Gold Medal
Winning an Olympic gold medal is the ultimate achievement of any sports personality. During the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, Chioma Ajunwa, one of the Nigerian team members that attended the games won the gold medal. She is a track and field athlete specializing in the long jump. It is Nigeria’s only Olympic Gold medal till date in track and field. It was a proud moment to be Nigerian.
D’Tigers Won AfroBasket Championship
D’Tigers is the sobriquet of Nigeria’s Basketball team. They won the Afrobasket Championship for the first time thus qualifying for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. They defeated their nemesis-Angola 74 to 65 baskets on 30th August, 2015. The victory was interesting because the team had always lost to Angola whenever they confront the team.
The American Wonder of Atlanta 1996
1996 seems to be a remarkable year for Nigerian sports. The Atlanta 1996 football team had a miraculous and magical performance at the game and one of Nigeria’s colourful and most decorated players, Kanu Nwankwo, shone like a million stars. He scored the golden goal against Brazil at the Semi-finals enabling the country qualify for the final. Nigeria defeated Argentina 3 goals to 2. And according to FIFA.com, “Nigeria made Olympic football history by becoming the first African and non-European and South American team to win the gold medal.”
The World Scrabble Championship
Scrabble requires intellect and consistency to be a champion. In fact, scrabble as a game played at the highest level in Nigeria is rare. Hence, when the news broke that Wellington Jighere won the World Scrabble Championship, it was a surprise to many. Jighere participated in the elite competition with 130 players from many countries battling it out over 32 rounds.