2021 Volleyball Nations Cup: Nigeria Reaches Quarter-Finals, Breaks 16-Year-Old Jinx

Team Nigeria has beaten Ethiopia 3-1 (25-20, 25-12, 32-34, 25-17) in their last match of Pool B to qualify for the quarter-finals at the 2021 African Men’s Senior Volleyball Nations Championship in Rwanda.

With the result and reaching the last eight, Nigeria also breaks a 16-Year-Old jinx at the tournament.

Nigeria will battle Cameroon in their quarter-final match at the Kigali Arena on Saturday by 4:00 pm.

Team coach, Usman Abdallah, is pleased with his team’s performance and hopes they can advance to the next stage.

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“It was a good performance from the team today, we played really well, though it was a tough game from the Ethiopians,” Abdallah said after the game.

“I am happy we could deal with the danger they posed in the first set but they became more determined in the third set where they eventually won by 34-32 points.”

Abdallah confirmed that the major objective is to be in a better position in this year’s Nation’s Championship.

“In 2019, Nigeria was missing at the African Nations Championship due to unseen circumstances; in 2017, we finished 13th position which was very poor. This time around, Nigeria wants to make a statement at this year’s edition,” he concluded.

Team Nigeria Ends Tokyo Paralympics With 10 Medals  

 

Team Nigeria ended its Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games campaign on Saturday at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, raking in one more gold and a bronze medal.

The team finished with four gold, one silver, and five bronze medals.

Making eight appearances at the games, Nigeria went to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics with 22 athletes and won a total of 10 medals.

Lauritta Onye started the closing day of Nigeria’s contest by winning bronze in the women F40 shot put event and Flora Ugunnwa brought icing on the cake with gold in the F54 javelin event.

Flora Ugunnwa threw 18.39 metres to claim a gold medal in the women’s f-54 javelin event and retain the title she won at the Rio De Janeiro 2016 games.

Volleyball: Nigeria Records First Win At U-19 World Championship

File photo of the volleyball players.

 

Team Nigeria have beaten Cuba 3-2 (25-10, 25-20, 22-25, 20-25, 15-13) to record her first win at the ongoing FIVB U-19 Boys World Championship in Iran on Wednesday.

The Head Coach of Nigeria Volleyball Team, Sani Mohammed said Nigeria became the second African country to beat Cuba at any World Championship, adding that it will be good to surpass the previous record where the team finished 14th position at the Championship two years ago.

“It was not easy because we led the game by 2-0 major set and along the line, they met us 2-2 before we won,” Mohammed said.

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“We did not have too many good training matches but the Cubans at the other end are a great volleyball nation. Nigeria became the second African country to beat them at any major World Championship after Egypt and we are happy to be part of this history.

“Our next assignment is to focus on how to beat Thailand tomorrow (Thursday) in the 13th position match and better our World ranking. Two years ago, we finished 14 place in Tunisia, this year we hope to better our performance.”

The Chairman Caretaker Committee of Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Engineer Musa Nimrod lauded the fighting spirit of the players during the game against Cuba.

“I am happy Nigeria finally recorded her first win of the championship today. This shows that there is hope for Nigeria Volleyball; the boys played with their heart, mind and hand which eventually led to the win in the 5th set.

“Two years ago, we finished 14th position in Tunisia, I am charging you to win your last match and surpass the previous records set by your seniors,” he said.

PHOTOS: Celebration As Team Nigeria Returns After World Athletics U-20 Championships

 

After a successful outing at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, Nigerian athletes have returned home to a rousing welcome.

The team touched down at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja around 10:00 am on Tuesday.

They were received by Minister of Sports and Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa.

Nigeria won four gold and three bronze medals to finish third on the medal table.

 

Team Nigeria celebrating after their return from the U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. Photos: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV (July 24, 2021)

Over 110 countries participated in the biennial junior track and field competition.

 


Nigeria Wins U-20 Inaugural 4x400m Mixed Relay Championship

The quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke and Bamidele Ajayi

 

Team Nigeria made history on Wednesday by clinching gold in the 4x400m mixed relay event at the ongoing World U-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

The quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke, and Bamidele Ajayi stormed to victory in a record time of 3:19.70, leaving the likes of Poland (3:19.80) and India (3:20.60) in their wake.

Nigeria made a change to the quartet that ran a then championship record of 3:21.66 in the semi-final by bringing in Nse Uko – the fastest girl in the quarter-mile coming to the race.

Nse, 17, didn’t disappoint her fellow compatriots as she handed over the baton to the third-leg runner, Oke in the first position.

Meanwhile, she has also qualified for the individual 400m final scheduled for Saturday and stands as a firm favourite to restore Nigeria as World U-20 champions, since Bisi Afolabi succeeded Fatimah Yusuf as queen of the quarter-mile in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Similarly, the duo of Godson Oghenebrume and Praise Ofokwu qualified for the 100m men and women’s final scheduled for Tuesday.

Oghenebrume ran a time of 10.22 seconds to win his semifinal heat, while Ofoku was also first in her semifinal heat, clocking 11.57.

 

Praise Ofokwu crossing the finish line in the 100 metres of the U-20 World Championships

 

In the men’s javelin throw, Chinecherem Nnamdi threw a massive new personal best and Nigeria’s  U-20 record of 78.03 to qualify for the final.

Nnamdi, the African Games bronze medalist added almost 5cm to his previous best of 73.24m to jump ahead of the queue as one of the favourites for the gold medal in the category.

Nigeria has not won a medal in the event at the World U20 Championship, but   Chinecherem could make history at the final scheduled for  Friday.

Team Nigeria Paralympians Promise Medal Haul In Tokyo

A man stands next to the Olympic rings at dusk in Yokohama on July 2, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG/ AFP)

 

With less than a week to the commencement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Team Nigeria athletes have assured supporters of an impressive outing in Tokyo.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday In Abuja, the Paralympics Captain, Lucy Ejike said, “we have been training seriously to make sure we meet up with the standard we set at previous games. Everything is going on well. We are confident we will bring glory to Nigeria. We have world records, so we hope to maintain the records and create new ones”.

Speaking in a similar vein, Para Powerlifter, Nnamdi Innocent, expressed appreciation to the Sports Minister for motivating the team.

“We are grateful to the Minister for his support and encouragement, what he did for us during the lockdown will motivate us to excel in Tokyo. We have many world records and our target is to go there and make Nigeria proud,” he said.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics games will be Nigeria’s 8th consecutive appearance since her maiden appearance at Barcelona 1992.

Nigeria had her most successful outing at Rio 2016, finishing as Africa’s best team and 17th overall in the world on the medals table with eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Nigeria will participate in four events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics viz; Powerlifting, Para-Athletics, Para-Table Tennis and Para-Rowing.

The team is expected to depart for Japan this week.

Team Nigeria Return To Abuja After Tokyo Olympics

 Ese Brume and Blessing Oborududu won Nigeria's two medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ese Brume and Blessing Oborududu won Nigeria’s two medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Nigerian athletes who participated in the Tokyo Olympics arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Saturday.

The Team Nigeria athletes arrived at the airport at about 1 pm.

Sports Minister Sunday Dare expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance at Tokyo, after placing 69th on the 205-country medal table.

Nigeria clinched two medals at the games, including a bronze in long jump and a silver in wrestling.

Both medals were won by Ese Brume and Blessing Oborududu respectively.

Team Nigeria’s appearance at the Tokyo games was marred by disqualifications, injuries and misfortune.

At least 10 athletes were disqualified for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.

Star athlete Blessing Okagbare was also suspended after she failed a drug test.

However the duo of Brume and Oborududu was able to put some smile on the faces of many Nigerians.

Nigeria Ends Tokyo Olympics Campaign With Two Medals As Adijat Loses In Wrestling

Oborududu (l) and Brume’s medals gave Nigerians reasons to smile.

 

Wrestler Adijat Idris lost out to Ukraine’s Oksana Livach in the quarter-final of the 50kg women’s freestyle event on Friday morning to end Nigeria’s hopes of adding more medals to its cabinet at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Livach defeated the 19-year-old 10-0 by technical knockout, meaning Team Nigeria ended the Games with two medals.

Nigeria’s only medals were from Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume. Brume won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event, while Oborududu clinched silver in the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling category to rekindle the country’s battered hopes in an Olympic where ten of its athletes were suspended.

Adijat Idris during her fight against Ukraine’s Oksana Livach. Photo: [email protected]_tokyo2020/

 

The country’s participation at the Olympics was marred by internal squabbles which many observers blamed for the athletes’ outing in Tokyo.

Several athletes had raised concerns over their welfare before and during the Games in the Asian nation.

Earlier in the week, shot-putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi made headlines after he posted a video of himself washing his “only” jersey ahead of the event, providing further insights into the welfare of the country’s contingents.

He later assured everyone that all was fine and battle-ready for the final –  where he ended 12th.

Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi competes in the men’s shot put qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)

 

Sportswear giants Puma’s termination of its four-year contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) further highlighted the leadership crisis in the federation which has marred preparations for Tokyo.

“As a direct consequence of the recent developments, particularly at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 and pursuant to clauses 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement,” the company said, “we hereby terminate the Agreement with immediate effect.”

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‘A Page In History’

Nigeria’s delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

 

As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told the Nigerian contingent before their departure, they opened “a page in history” for themselves and the country can draw many positives from their outing in Japan despite the disappointments.

For the first time, the nation had a gymnast at the Games – Uche Eke – as well as in the Canoeing Sprint with Ayomide Bello.

Nigeria’s Enoch Adegoke (C) wins the men’s 100m heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

On the track, Enoch Adegoke broke a 25-year jinx as the first Nigerian to reach the final of the men’s 100m event. He ran 10.00secs  but could not finish the final race due to injury. In 1996, Davidson Ezinwa became the first Nigerian to achieve the feat.

USA’s Tamyra Marianna Stock Mensah (red) wrestles Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP)

 

Oborududu, the 10-time African champion, also wrote her name in Nigeria’s Olympics folklore when she became the first Nigerian to win a medal in wrestling on the biggest sports competition in the world.

Tokyo Olympics: Oborududu Wins Silver In Women Wrestling

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

Team Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu on Tuesday won a silver medal in the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling category.

She had guaranteed Nigeria a medal on Monday after beating Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold to reach the final.

Although she lost the final to American world champion Stock Mensah Tamyra Marianna 4-1, the 32-year-old can be proud of her achievement after earning Nigeria’s second medal at the Tokyo games.

Earlier in the day, Ese Brume had made the country proud by winning bronze in long jump.

Meanwhile, second-seed Odunayo Adekuoroye will begin her quest for an Olympic medal in the 57kg weight category on Wednesday.

The three-time World championship medallist Adekuoroye will be up against Anastasia Nichita of Moldova in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, Aminat Adeniyi lost 4-2 via pinfall to Ukraine’s Iryna Koliadenko, despite leading 4-0 in their round of 16 bout.

The Commonwealth champion, Adeniyi, was hoping for Koliadenko to reach the final, so she could via for a bronze medal through the repechage.

But it was not to be as Koliadenko was stopped in the semi-final by Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan, who won 10-0 via technical superiority.

History maker

Oborududu, who began wrestling at St Jude’s Girls Secondary School in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, had been aiming to clinch gold in Tokyo.

But Mensah proved too strong.

Still, she emerged as Nigeria’s first ever Olympics medalist in wrestling.

USA's Tamyra Marianna Stock Mensah (red) wrestles Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
USA’s Tamyra Marianna Stock Mensah (red) wrestles Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

On her way to the final, Oborududu made light work of Elis Manolova in the round of 16, thrashing the Azerbaijani 13-2 via technical superiority, before securing a hard-fought 3-2 win against Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan in the quarter-finals.

After a cagey opening moment in her semi-final bout against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, the energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.

A late fight back saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.

Tokyo 2020: Nwokocha Through To 200m Semis

Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou (R) wins the women's 200m heat ahead of Nigeria's Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (R) wins the women’s 200m heat ahead of Nigeria’s Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Team Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha on Monday in Tokyo advanced to the semi-finals in the women’s 200 metres event.

Nwokocha ran a personal best of 22.47 seconds to finish third in heat 1 of the event to gain one of the automatic tickets to the semi-finals.

Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou won the heat with 22.30, while the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo was second with 22.40.

Nwokocha could have been joined by compatriot Blessing Okagbare but the latter was disqualified from the competition after failing a drug test.

She is one of Nigeria’s remaining hopes for a medal at the games.

Earlier on Monday, Team Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan had placed fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles final.

 

PHOTOS: Team Nigeria Heads To Tokyo Olympics

One of the team members at the airport. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun

 

The first batch contingent of Team Nigeria today, July 6 left for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The team members departed through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Members of the team include the Canoeing team – Ayomide Bello and her coach Ebenezer Ukwunna; Esther Toko and her coach Regina Enofe of Rowing event alongside Secretary-General Olubunmi Oluode.

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Also in the team is the Special Adviser on Sports to the Minister, Mary Onyali; Medical crew of Dr Samuel Ogbondeminu – Okoh Joseph, Abdulsalam Shuaibu, and Ekundayo Ogunkunle.

 

See photos of the team members at the airport below…

Olympics: Team Nigeria’s First Batch Departs For Tokyo

The first batch of Team Nigeria Contingent departs for Tokyo Olympics from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun

 

The first batch contingent of Team Nigeria today, July 6 left for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The team members departed through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The Director, Federation of Elites Athletes Department (FEAD), Simeon Ebhojiaye in a statement explained that the members include the Canoeing team – Ayomide Bello and her coach Ebenezer Ukwunna; Esther Toko and her coach Regina Enofe of Rowing event alongside Secretary-General Olubunmi Oluode.

Also in the team is the Special Adviser on Sports to the Minister, Mary Onyali; Medical crew of Dr Samuel Ogbondeminu – Okoh Joseph, Abdulsalam Shuaibu, and Ekundayo Ogunkunle.

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Earlier on Monday, an advance team of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development departed via the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

The second batch will depart on July 13th.

Nigeria will be competing in nine sports at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics which runs from July 23rd- August 8th.

The Paralympians will be competing in four sports from August 24-September 5, 2021.

The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare at the send forth ceremony held in Abuja on Tuesday morning said the departure of the team for the Games is evidence that “working in unison, we can collectively, achieve whatever we set our minds to achieve as humans.”

He said all the athletes and officials that would feature at the Games have been severally educated on COVID-19 compliance and anti-doping instructions and urged them to adhere to the rules in order to compete safely and avoid the discomfort of COVID-19 isolation.

“In continuation of his grandiose support to the sports sector, President Muhammdu Buhari has committed enormous resources in the preparation and participation of Team Nigeria for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As part of this effort, Mr. President would formally unveil the official Team Nigeria uniform for the Games during the presentation of the contingent to His Excellency, by the Honourable Minister,” Dare added.

The Nigeria contingent to Games is scheduled to move to Tokyo in four batches as follows:

Batch 1: July 6, 2021

Canoe Sprint

Rowing

Table Tennis

 

Batch 2: July 13, 2021

Athletics

Taekwondo

Wrestling

 

Batch 3: July 17, 2021

Gymnastics

Badminton

 

Batch 4: July 19, 2021

Basketball