The probing question on the lips of many keen athletics watcher “Is Nigeria Back”?. But the younger one are throwing back the question by asking “Nigeria Back From Where?
In the 80s” and 90s” the Nigeria sprinters was a cynosure of all eyes in the world of athletics with their impressive athletics prowess. In nineteen eighty six, a young talented Nigeria called Chidi Imoh bursted into the athletics limelight by been the fastest of that year. He later went on that year to beat the great Carl Lewis by coming second to Ben Johnson in Goodwill Games. In fact, this man Chidi Imoh defeated the former World and Olympics champion Linford Christie in 22 times in his glorious athletics career. The Innocent Egbunike also became a darling of the athletics world with his unique style of running 400m.

Then came the American tormetor, the athletics scintilator Olapade Adenikan; the man American fondly called Ola. Dazzled the World with supreme athletics prowess by been the only man in 1991 to have stopped the invincibility of twice world record holder Leroy Burrell. Little wonder when he became the first Nigeria to break almighty 10s {Chidi Imo’s time} barrier.In the female side; as Mary Onyali was tearing the World athletics apart, Falilat Ogunkoya, Charity Opara and Fatima Yussuf was given Marie Perez and Catherine Freeman serious headache.

Nigeria fire on the track continues with emergent of legion of world class sprinters in Ezinwas twins brother{ David and Osmond}, Deji Aliu, Francis Obikwelu, Olusoji Fasuba{Afican record holder with 9.85s}, Daniel Effiong{Phillip}, Seun Ogunkoya, Sunday Emmanuel, Uche Emedolu, Endurance Ojokolo and Mercy Nku- all dominated the world athletics scene.

In the hurdles, Imeh Akpan and Gloria Alozie was taken the fight to top hurlers all over the world. In the relays, always solid with silver in 1992 Olympics and 1997 Athens World Championship.

Then close to 10 years, Nigeria athletics went on “sabbatical  coma” except for resilient Blessing Okagbare who was keeping the hope of Nigeria’s return.

Then a bang by a Nigeria on February 23rd , 2019 on Saturday in the city of Texas by 5 times African Junior Champion-Divine Oduduru; when he ran the third fastest time ever of 20.08s in the 200m indoor at Big 12 USA collegiate conference indoor championship. The 5-foot-10-70kg Nigeria sprinter went further on June 3rd 2019 to cement the resurgence of Nigeria team by winning the sprint double at final NCAA with very impressive 9.86s and 19.73s. To confirm the resurgence of Nigeria sprinters; Nigeria took the 100m crown in the last All African Games 2019 by former  D.K. Olukoya Youth Athletics 100m Champion-Raymond Ekevwo with a sublime 9.96s. The floor gate of resurgence has been further opened by ever improving Itsekiri Usheoritse when he ran an impressive 10.02s to win bronze at the same AAG 2019.

Nigeria is back with; Blessing Okagbare looking healthier than ever before after recovery from injuries and autoimmune condition, Tobi Amusan is in her best shape of her life (12.48s) to cause upset in the 100m hurldle, Ese Brume stands shoulder up with 7.05m to jump further than anybody, then the fearful quartet of Divine (9.86s), Raymond (9.96s), Itsekiri (10.02s) and Enoch(10.12s) standby to lay claim to thgold with African record.



By discernsportblog

Former sprinter, Taewondo and Badminton Player. Sport Physiotherapist

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