How fast four years have gone by. It seems like only yesterday when London was bustling with festivity for the Olympics and now in just a few days, the 2016 summer Olympics will kick off inBrazil as the world focus on Rio while she opens her city to Olympians and supporters from all parts of the globe.
Countries like United States, China, and Great Britain do not have to worry about not winning medals. For these countries; it is a matter of how many medals? Nigeria on the other hand has to worry because of team Nigeria’s unimpressive performance at London 2012 where they won no medal after winning four medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Competing in eight events with 86 athletes, Team Nigeria is competing in events dominated by outstanding athletes. Would Rio 2016 be the same as London 2012 or do we have a chance of bringing home any medal? And which athletes are we expecting to make us proud.
The Dream Team-is Nigeria’s representatives in the football event. They qualified for the Olympics by finishing as champions among the top three at the U-23 African Cup of Nations, Senegal 2015. Up till now, they have been to the Olympic games six times with their first appearance in the 1968 games in Mexico. Their outstanding performance at Atlanta 1996 where they won their first Gold medal in football caught the attention of the world. In Beijing 2008 they won silver but won nothing in London 2012. With stories of lack of funds, it is difficult to assess how prepared they are and what to expect. Hopefully with Mikel Obi leading the team, and using his experience and skills, they might do us proud.
Blessing Okagbare-the long jump and short sprints specialist has an extensive resume and awards to back her skills. She had a long jump annual best in Oregon in May. However she was fourth behind Brittney Reese, Ivana Spanovic and Lorraine Ugen. She is still a huge favourite to win a medal. As she is also competing in the relay, 100m, and 400m,
Seye Ogunlewe:- Ranked at 915 and qualified for the Olympics with a 10.12 seconds run, Ogunlewe is the fastest man in Nigeria but the 28-year-old sprinter will be sprinting alongside Usain Bolt, and Justin Gatlin. Bolt ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds in 2009, which led him to becoming the fastest man in the world. Gatlin ran a season’s best earlier this year of 9.8 seconds. 0.32 seconds quicker than Ogunlewe. Yohan Blake and Trayvon Bromellare also contenders who ran quicker than Ogunlewe this year.
Divine Oduduru:- the junior sprinter has earned his place in the senior team with silver medals in the All-Africa Games and World Junior Championships. However, can he hold his own with a 19.19 seconds holder-running with the likes of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin might be a tough feat for Oduduru who qualified with a 20.47 seconds run in Sapele?
As per 2016 Olympic slogan, “A New World,” anything can happen and though our hope for a medal might look unachievable, in a new world underdogs do cause massive upset.
Wishing our Olympians a productive time in Rio! Go! Team Nigeria!