As the 2022 Commonwealth Games which started on 28 July ends today, Monday 8 August in Birmingham, England, President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors Rotimi Akeredolu and Dapo Abiodun have sent their congratulatory messages to participants.
Officially known as the XXII Commonwealth Games and commonly referred to as Birmingham 2022, it is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth of Nations. For Nigeria, 94 participants flew its flag in nine sporting events. Then, it was a rain of medals, which made Nigerian leaders and the lead proud, forgetting the challenges of the moment! Nigerian ambassadors won 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze.
Top of the list were 12 gold medals for Nigeria, won by Tobi Amusan (100m Women’s Hurdle and 4x100m Relay), Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha (4x100m Relay); Miesinnei Mercy Genesis (50 kg), Blessing Oborududu (57 kg) and Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) in Women’s Freestyle wrestling. Others: Adijat Adenike Olarinoye (55kg) and Rafiatu Folashade Lawal (59kg) in Women’s weightlifting. Not left out were Folashade Oluwafemiayo, Women’s heavyweight Para Powerlifting, Eucharia Iyiazi, Women’s shot put, Chioma Onyekwere and Goodness Nwachukwu in Women’s Discus throw, and Ese Brume, long jump.
For these, the President joined millions of other sports-loving Nigerians to watch some of the colourful and spectacular moments in the 11-day competition, which had no fewer than 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories, competing in 280 medal events.
Saluting the memorable display of Team Nigeria athletes, the President, as contained in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, (Media & Publicity), commended the 94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events, and for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to our faces by breaking world, national and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career.
With 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze harvested already on the late evening of the 10th day of the Games, and more medals likely for the country on the last day, the President thanks the shining stars of Nigeria for competing among the best in the world and displaying the God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end.
‘‘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,’’ the President says.
The President also lauds the coaching crew and team officials for their passion for the development of sports in the country, assuring them that history will remember them for all their contributions to making our athletes shine in the international arena.
Also, Governor Abiodun congratulated Tobi Amusan for winning a gold medal. The Governor, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said: “Our golden girl has done it, again. This is a testament to the fact that she is consistent, reliable and deserved the World record, indeed. This is a moment of joy for us all in Ogun State and Nigeria and we are pleased with her streak of successes.”
Amusan performed wonders again at the Alexander Stadium in the women’s 100 metres hurdles final by running a Games record of 12.30sec. It was another record-breaking title defence. Governor Abiodun was happy, saying this made her “the first World Champion to win Gold in the event and the first Nigerian athlete ever – dead or alive – to be crowned champion at all levels of athletics in the same year.”
He added: “Amusan is a compatriot with prodigious talents reflecting the standard of excellence that our state is noted for. Our state is reputed for exemplary courage, consistency, integrity, and good sportsmanship. Tobi has exhibited these on the world stage, by proving again and again that success is achievable with hard work and determination.
“It is with joy that I received the news of Tobi Amusan’s triumph at the Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom. This is indeed another great feat recorded by one of our finest exports in Ogun.”
Abiodun showered praises on Amusan also when she performed well at the 2022 World Athletics Championship, held in Eugene, Oregon, USA. He said: “is heart-warming and a thing of pride to not only to the black race but the nation and Ogun State in particular”.
Abiodun recalled how his administration, during the COVID-19 pandemic announced the adoption of the talented Ijebu-Ode-born athlete as proposed by the Minister of Youths and Sport, Sunday Dare, when he visited Ogun. “We supported her. We are a state of many firsts. Here is another testimony to that fact. I am very proud of that feat in Oregon. She’s one of our major exports in sports and we are happy to be associated with her”.
The statement reads: “That was the second time Amusan would break the record on the night, improving on her 12.12s in the semi-final. It was previously set by America’s Kendra Harrison’s at 12.20s.
“On a night of many firsts, Amusan became the first Nigerian athlete to ever set a World Record in any event. It will also be the first time the Nigerian anthem would be played over the public address system during a medal presentation as the winner of an event in recent years.
The same Ogun State produced athletes like Modupe Oshikoya, Falilat Ogunkoya, and Samson Oyeledun among others who made Nigeria proud. Oluwatobiloba Ayomide Amusan, 25, hailed from Ijebu Ode and attended Our Lady of Apostle Secondary School in the ancient town before proceeding to the University of Texas.
“Amusan’s victory, will for her, be some sort of compensation for a disappointing outing in Tokyo last year where she finished fourth in the final despite being touted to take one of the medals.
“As she walks away with a $100,000 prize money, on behalf of the government and people of Ogun State, I congratulate one of our finest in the world of sport. I want to urge her to now turn her attention to the Commonwealth Games beginning on Thursday, July 28 where she’s also the defending champion. As a government, we will continue to put infrastructure in place to encourage our budding talents in sports, while incentives will put in place to woo and encourage our stars”.
Governor of Ondo State, Akeredolu was not left out. He commended Nigerian wrestler and Ondo State-born Olympian, Odunayo Adekuoroye on her gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Adekuoroye won the gold medal in the women’s 57kg freestyle wrestling on Friday after defeating Indian competitor, Anshu Malik.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu said:
“Our own Odunayo Adekuoroye has recorded another feat for the country. We are particularly proud that she displayed courage and resilience to clinch her win even in the face of intense pressure.
“We are, indeed, thrilled that an Ondo State indigene has brought pride to the black race, the Nation and the Sunshine State in particular. Her victory is a collective pride for the country,” he said