C/wealth Games: Can Team Nigeria Surpass New Delhi Outing?

Segun Toriola of Nigeria serves to Jorge

Sam Paul

With barely few weeks after the end of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, attention has shifted to Glasgow, Scotland where Anglophone countries converge for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

This year’s Games began yesterday with an opening ceremony where Nigeria’s hopes of surpassing its previous performance lie on how prepared the country’s athletes are before the competition started.

It will be the 12th appearances of Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games which is an avenue where commonwealth nations unite together through sports and their athletes showcase their talents to the world.

Team Nigeria are presenting a total of 127 athletes that will partake in seven events which include athletics, shooting, wrestling, table tennis, para-athletics, powerlifting and boxing.

Segun Toriola of Nigeria serves to Jorge

Segun Toriola of Nigeria serves to Jorge

Nigeria’s best outing was in 1994 in Victoria Canada and 2010 in New Delhi India, where we won eleven gold medals each. The last record showed that Nigeria has strong prospects of winning medals in wrestling and athletics.

A total of 33 medals, 11 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze medals were won. Nigeria finished 9th in the overall medal standings in the last edition held in New Delhi, India.

Reports have it that most of the athletes representing the country had poor preparations prior to the commencement of this year’s event. This might not be unconnected with the late release of funds to the various sporting federations. There is no doubt that it might have a negative impact on Nigeria’s quest for a better outing in Glasgow.

The country’s 100m, 200m and long jump queen, Blessing Okagbare, will be expected to return home with some medals in her events, while the boxing team which highest ever achievement was when they won three gold medals in Brisbane 1982, will be looking to surpass that feat which they failed to replicate in the last edition. They came back home without a medal after a woeful performance.

Commenting on the chances of Nigeria in the ongoing Commonwealth Games, President Goodluck Jonathan said: “This period, you will all agree with me, has been a glorious time in our sporting activities. Nigerians are therefore expecting a much better performance in Glasgow.”

In his own view, a spare part dealer, Prince Collins Chima, who told P.M.NEWS Sports how passionate he loves sports, said that he doesn’t see Nigeria surpasses its previous record, but will do well in the Games.

“I see Nigerian athletes putting up good outing because they had not been performing badly in the previous Commonwealth Games, but whether they will surpass their previous performance this time is what I cannot vouch for,” he said.

A student of the Enugu State’s Science and Technology, Olufemi Adebayo, in his own opinion said he doesn’t expect much from the athletes, “but whatever bring back home, I will take it in good faith,” he said.

Speaking with a female sports enthusiast, who is an hairdresser, Blessing Okiboh, said that if Nigerian athletes had prepared very well before the competition, they will do well.