After securing 11 gold, eight silver and 14 bronze medals in Birmingham as at Sunday afternoon, Team Nigeria are on course to match the record of medals won by their predecessors at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, SUNDAY PUNCH reports.
In 1994, Team Nigeria won 11 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze, the country’s best ever outing at the Games in Victoria 28 years.
The current medal haul places this team in joint-third with the squad that amassed same number of medals – 11 gold, eight silver and 14 bronze – at the 2010 edition in Delhi.
Nigeria’s second best outing – 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals – was at the Glasgow edition of the Games in 2014.
Now, a new generation of athletes are looking to make their nation proud and are as close to equalling the 1994 record as setting a new record should they make it 12 gold wins.
A notable contrast would be that unlike in 1994 the men dominated proceedings, winning nine out of the 11 gold medals at the global tournament, and winning 31 out of the total 37 medals while the women won just six.
At this years’ edition, however, the women have grabbed all the headlines, and have rewritten the history books. And what better way to do that than to win the first gold medal of the tournament as Adijat Olarinoye set a new Commonwealths Games record to claim gold in weightlifting.
The female athletes have since then won all nine of Nigeria’s gold medals at the Games in Birmingham, and a total of 22 medals, while the male athletes have won just eight with the total tally at 30.
Weightlifting has proven to be a ‘goldmine’ event for Nigeria just like in 1994 when six of the 11 gold medals came from the category with the men winning all.
Oliver Toby (152.5kg), Najite Ogboju (125.0kg), Moji Oluwa (165.0kg and 295.0kg), Lawal Riliwan (132.5kg), and Christopher Onyezier (155.0kg) all set Games Record in the tournament in Victoria, Canada.
This year, however, athletics and wrestling have produced three medals each, while weightlifting won two medals. With the potential for more medals in weightlifting and wrestling already closed as both events have been finalised, athletics can earn Nigeria more medals in Birmingham, while also breaking the record of six medals won by the 1994 weightlifting team.
Team Nigeria has already qualified for five final day events and could end the competition with a lot more than the previous record, should they stay on course. Again, women lead in qualifications for the final day.
World champion, Tobi Amusan, has been handed a chance to start the day with gold for Nigeria in the final of the Women’s 100m Hurdles on Sunday (today).
World Athletics Championships silver medallist, Ese Brume, and Ruth Usoro have also qualified for the Women’s Long Jump final, while Chinecherem Nnamdi will also be in action in the Men’s Javelin final.
Elizabeth Oshoba is also in competition for gold, facing Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh in the final bout of the Women’s Featherweight (54kg-57kg) boxing competition.