Nigerian women recently shook off political marginalisation at home to shine brilliantly in two international sports festivals to bring honour and pride to their country.
All the gold medals that Nigeria won, which placed the country seventh on the medals’ table of the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, were clinched by women. They had earlier shone during the World Athletics Games in Oregon, the United States, where they had shown excellence, discip0line and hard work.
The women did not only win gold, they shattered world records and posted national, African and Commonwealth records. People were beginning to wonder where the men were. The gold haul at the Birmingham Games was the highest ever that Nigeria had got from the Commonwealth Games.
Below is the list of the golden girls: Tobi Amusan, 100 metres hurdles and 4X100 metres relay, Favour Ofili, Grace Nwokocha, Tobi Amusan and Rosemary Chukwuma who won the 4X100 metres relay with Amusan, Ese Brume, Long Jump, Mercy Genesis Miesinnei, Weightlifting 50kg Class, Blessing Oborududu, Wrestling 68kg Category, Adekuoroye Odunayo, Wrestling 57kg, Rafiatu Folashade Lawal, Weightlifting 59kg, Adijat Olarinyoe, Weightlifting 55kg, Folashade Oluwafemiayo, Para-Powerlifting 75kg, Eucharia Iyiazi, F55-57 Shot put, Chioma Onyekwere, Shot put, Goodness Nwachukwu, Discuss throw.
The star of the pack is Amusan, who stunned the sporting world with her 12.06 seconds record run in the final of the 100 metres hurdles event at the Oregon World Athletics Games in Oregon the United States in July. She achieved the feat after scaling the hurdles in 12.12 seconds in the semi-final event. But her 12.12 seconds record was validated because the 12.06 seconds was said to be wind aided.
President Muhammadu Buhari in celebrating the victorious contingent said it was a fitting parting gift for him as he steps down in nine months. He said, “We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever. And for me, this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,” Buhari said in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina.
The sterling performance of the girls had come at a time when women were pushed aside in the political arena of the country. None of the major political parties nominated a woman as its presidential candidate or a presidential running-mate, coming after the National Assembly rejected a constitutional amendment that would have given more political and civil space to women in the country.
Nnamdi Elekwachi, commenting on the feat of the women at international sports meet, said the future is female. “With the way our female athletes are winning gold medals in recent track and field events, we may have entered a golden era