Tokyo Olympics: Oborududu, Brume Give Nigerians Reasons To Cheer With Two Medals
By Akinola Ajibola
Nigerian duo Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume gave their fellow compatriots back home some reasons to cheer as they hope for more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
This followed a week of bad news for Team Nigeria ranging from the declaration of 10 athletes as ineligible to participate in the games, to the suspension of Olympic medallist, Blessing Okagbare, among others.
Amid the fears of shattered dreams at the Olympics, Oborududu revived the hopes for Nigerians following a brilliant performance in the semi-final of the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling.
Paired with Battsetseg Soronzonbold, the 32-year-old beat her Mongolian opponent on Monday to reach the next round and guarantee Nigeria its first medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
She later went on to face Stock Mensah Tamyra Marianna of the United States of America to jostle for the gold medal in that category in a keenly-watched final.
Oborududu, however, lost 4-1 to the American.
25-Year Long Jump Record Crushed
But the defeat was not enough to deter the 10-time African champion from being proud of her achievement after becoming the world’s number two woman wrestler.
She also made history on Tuesday as the first wrestler to win an Olympic medal representing Nigeria at the Olympics.
The Olympian won a silver medal – the second for her country after Brume who made the country proud earlier by winning a bronze medal in the women’s long jump category.
Brume leaped a best jump of 6.97m behind Germany’s Malaika Mihambo and Brittney Reese of the United States of America who claimed the gold and silver medals respectively.
The 25-year-old Nigerian had won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Doha and later jumped a distance of 7.17m at the Chule Vista Festival in California in May.
By this time, she had crushed Chioma Ajunwa’s 25-year long jump record of 7.12m which won her a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Brume was also the only Nigerian athlete who reached the final of her event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil where she finished fifth.
Apart from the brilliant performances from Oborududu and Brume, Nigerians are hoping for more medals as second-seed Odunayo Adekuoroye begins her quest for an Olympic medal in the 57kg weight category at the ongoing games.
Also within the medal range is Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who will be competing in the men’s Shot Put final.
More Money For Medallists
Meanwhile, praises have been pouring in for Oborududu and Brume from various individuals and groups – including Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate our daughter and Nigerian wrestler, Blessing Oborududu, for winning a silver medal in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Deltans and Nigerians are very proud of this great achievement,” the governor said of the feat recorded by the wrestler.
He also commended Brume whom he said he called on Monday before her athletics event to bring home Nigeria’s first medal at the Olympics.
“She did! I am sure that I spoke on behalf of all Deltans and Nigerians when I said that we are all extremely proud of her for bringing home Nigeria’s first Olympics track and field medal since 2008.
“Well done Ese!” he concluded.
As a way to motivate the athletes, Nigerian authorities announced that medallists at the ongoing games would be paid triple of their prize money.
A senior official of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Simon Ebohdjaiye, explained that the move was to appreciate the impressive and historic performances put up by the athletes.
“Gold medallist will now be rewarded with $15,000 while silver and bronze medal winners will each get $10,000 and S7,500 respectively,” he said
“The earlier award is $5,000 for gold, $3,000 for silver, and $2,000 for bronze. The gesture is to drive home the point that the Federal Government rewards superlative efforts.”