This year Team Nigeria included 60 athletes from 10 different sports. It is an impressive line-up for the Tokyo Olympics and while medals are never guaranteed, we can be certain that Nigeria’s athletes will make us proud.
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Nigeria has a long history of being a strong competitor in track and field events at the Olympics. Divine Oduduru is a track and field sprinter who is competing in the 100 and 200 metres sprints. He holds the Nigerian national record for the 200 metres. He has competed around the world, coming in first in events at the African Youth Championships, the African Championships and the NCAA Division 1 Championships. He is a talented young sprinter. Also competing in track and field events is Ruth Usoro. Usoro competes in the long jump and the triple jump. She is the first Nigerian athlete to qualify for the long jump and the triple jump in the Olympics.
This year Nigeria has sent three badminton players to the Olympics to compete in the women’s singles and men’s doubles. Dorcas Ajoke Adesokan is one of the most talented female badminton players in Africa, possibly in the world. She has won nearly every BWF International tournament that she has competed in since 2013. Although she sometimes plays doubles and mixed doubles, her specialty is singles. Godwin Olofua and Anuolouwapo Juwon Opeyori are a doubles team who have already been playing together for years even though they are both still in their early 20s. They have had a lot of success at the BWF International tournaments, coming in either first or second in the last 10 tournaments. Badminton might not seem as intense as tennis, but watching high level athletes playing, it is obvious that it is a sport that requires a lot of skill and athletic ability.
Table tennis is another racquet sport that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. Table tennis is popular throughout Nigeria as a sport for both kids and adults. This year, Nigeria has sent four table tennis players to compete in the men’s and women’s singles events. Quadri Aruna, Olajide Omotayo, Offiong Edem and Olufunke Oshonaike have all made their country proud with their performances in Tokyo. They demonstrated how table tennis is a serious sport, not just a game.
Win or lose the Olympic Games are a spectacle of human physical ability. Once the they are over, we should reflect on the lessons of the Olympics. The Olympic motto — Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together — should be how the world community approaches all the issues and challenges facing us.