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Published On: Tue, Aug 5th, 2014

The gains and pains of Team Nigeria at Commonwealth Games

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Blessing_GlegsowBy Albert Akota

The Commonwealth games in Glasgow are getting the attention of the world as different nations compete in various sporting competitions.

Team Nigeria, one of Africa’s representative in this year’s edition, took part for the thirteenth times after debuting in 1950.

African nations have had remarkable records in several editions of the Commonwealth Games, although Africa is yet to host the prestigious tournament.

Although Team Nigeria has lived up to expectations despite the shabby preparations towards the event, it is ranked 8th in the medals table with 11gold, 11 silvers and 14 bronzes medals to her honour.

At the last games in Delhi, Nigeria came 9th, taking home 33 medals, including 10 gold medals.

Registered at six games which include, athletics, boxing, weightlifting, etc. which have been the strongest points of contest for Nigeria, the Team has so far showcased missed performances that have generated lots of worries for Nigerians.

Here is how Nigerian representatives are faring at the sport festival with over 1.5 billion viewers around the world watched how the event unfolds.

 

Doping Failure

Nigerians were shock to receive the news that Chika Amalaha, the nation’s youngest female weightlifter, that won a gold medal in the women’s 53kg category, was suspended from the ongoing Commonwealth Games after failing a drug test.

The 16-year-old Amalaha provided an ‘A’ sample on July 25, shortly after winning the women’s 53kg category, which revealed traces of diuretics and masking agents. Amalaha had a ‘B’ sample tested at a laboratory in London on July 30 which finally resulted to positive.

Allowance Issues

After six days in Glasgow, the National Sports Commission (NSC) finally paid Team Nigeria athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, six days competition allowances following complaints from different quarters.

The allowance row has almost caused a crack in the camp of Team Nigeria that lacked proper preparations prior to the event. It took the intervention of Tammy Danagogo, minister of sports, who stepped into the crisis and ordered the immediate payment of the allowances after complaints by athletes and officials.

Okagbare’s 100m gold medal

Team Nigeria got another breeze after Nigeria athlete Blessing Okagbare won the women’s 100 metres gold in 10.85 seconds and 200m to increase Team Nigeria’s medal haul at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Okagbare’s blistering run also earned the sprinter a Commonwealth Games record. The Delta-born sprinter, who won a silver medal at the London’s 2012 Olympic, was ahead of Jamaica’s veteran runner, Veronica Campbell-Brown, and her compatriot, Kerron Stewart.

The 25-year-old tracks queen, who won long jump silver and 200m bronze at the 2013 World Championships, got off to a quick start in the women’s 100m and maintained her form throughout to clock a games record of 10.85secs.

Nigeria’s table tennis team returned to the podium at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games after defeating India 3-1 to claim the bronze medal in the men’s team event.

In 2010 in Delhi, Team Nigeria failed to win any medal in table tennis having been a regular medal winning team since table tennis became part of the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Even in the rating of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), Nigeria has been seeded below India and most of the Indian players are rated higher than the entire Nigerian team.

But bookmakers were proved wrong, the youthful Nigerian side turned the table against the Asian giant to clinch Nigeria’s first medal in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in the last eight years.

The 1994 edition hosted by the city of Victoria, Canada, remains evergreen in the memories of Nigerians. That was where Nigeria grabbed 37 medals (11 gold, 13 silver, and 13 bronze) to record her best ever outing to date.

Despite the late preparations, suspension of Chika Amalaha and the administrative bungling, Team Nigerian athletes gave their best once more.

There are need to clean up the mess caused by Amalaha because more evident have shown positive in order to return smiles to the faces of sports-loving Nigerians.

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