Highlights of Nigeria’s feats in global sports in 2023

BADMINTON, scrabble, basketball, handball and football are sporting activities that produced medals for Nigeria at continental and global competitions in 2023, The ICIR reports.

In this report, The ICIR’s Dotun Omisakin analyses sports that fetched medals for Nigeria at both continent and global stages in the outgoing year.

Football

Nigeria participated in the U-20 AFCON and finished 3rd, earning a ticket to feature in the World Cup hosted in Argentina.  It lost in the quarter-final to South Korea.

In U-17, the Flying Eagles finished in the quarter-final of the U-17 AFCON held in Algeria, failing to secure a ticket to the World Cup.

The Super Eagles resumed their qualification series for the 2023 AFCON, to be held in Cote d’Ivoire in January 2024. The team finished Group A with 15 points, picking the ticket to participate in the tournament.

The build-up of the Super Falcons’ participation in their ninth consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand witnessed drama as the players threatened to boycott the tournament over non-payment of bonus.

After the dust settled, the team qualified from the group stage but finished in the round of 16 knockout stage. 

Athletics 

Nigeria’s aspiration to win medals in athletics in 2023 was a mirage, as the year ended without a single medal from this sports category.

Team Nigeria returned home without a medal after the country’s contingent failed to reach the podium at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The poor outing is a decline from the team’s top performance in 2019 when Ese Brume brought Nigeria back to the podium in 2019 with a bronze medal and Tobi Amusan with a first-ever gold medal by a Nigerian at World Athletics’ flagship event.

Badminton

Nigeria continued its dominance of the Para Games as its athletes won 13 medals at the All Africa Para-Badminton Championship held in Kampala to top the medals table.

The country won eight gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the championship held at MTN Arena, Lugogo Stadium, Kampala, Uganda.

Also, in 2023, Nigeria’s top badminton player, Anuoluwa Opeyori, retained his African title by winning the gold medal in the men’s singles at the 2023 All-Africa Senior Championships.

Scrabble 

Nigeria finished the 2023 World Scrabble Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, with a fourth and second individual and team final position, respectively. 

Also, in the second edition of the West African Scrabble Championship (WASC), which took place in Lagos on Saturday, November 25, Nigerian Doko Oluwatimilehin, a 500-level Pharmacy student at the University of Lagos, emerged as the winner.

The country’s Godwin Victor won the maiden edition of the Pan African Scrabble Association President’s Cup.






     

     

    Basketball

    Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, won the 2023 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket tournament. They beat Senegal 84-74 to claim their fourth successive African title.

    Handball

    Nigeria claimed the bronze medal at the 2023 African U-18 Women’s Handball Nations Championship in Tunisia.

    Though this report focuses on what Nigeria won as a nation, it will not be complete without including the crowning of soccer wizards Victor Osimhen and Asisat Oshoala as the 2023 African Footballer of the Year in both male and female categories.

    Osimhen returned the prize to Nigeria after 24 years, while Oshoala claimed her title for the record-extending sixth time.

     

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