Little has been said of women when it comes to sporting activities in Nigeria. However, women are making waves, not just in football, but in every aspect of sports and athletics. No doubt, women add glamour and colour to sport. So, here is a compilation of the top Nigerian female sport influencers.
Asisat Oshoala (Football)
The 21 year-old lady came into limelight in 2014 when she emerged the most valuable player and top scorer at that year’s Women’s U-20 World Cup. She has led the Super Falcons to a record eighth African Women Championship in Namibia, winning the MVP award, as well as ending in second place in the top scorers chart behind compatriot Desire Oparanozie. Asisat was awarded the African Women’s Player of the Year for 2014, and was also named the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.
Blessing Okagbare (Athletics)
She holds a record of the African 100m race. She won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event at the Beijing Olympicsshe won a gold in the 100m and 200m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, becoming the fourth woman to ever achieve the feat. Blessing Okagbare broke Debbie Ferguson Mckenzie’s 12- year record of 10.91 secs with 10.85secs. She is happily married to the ex-footballer, Igho Oteghen.
Melissa Ifidzhen (Tennis)
Melissa was born in Russia to a Nigerian father and Russian mother. She made her debut when she paired Elizabeth Garos-Pam to beat Algeria’s Saadia Belhadj and Sihem Sahli in the girls doubles of the 39th ITF/CAT African Closed Junior Championship in Egypt. Also, Melissa won the European Championship in 2010, and in 2014, she reached the final of the singles’ event of the Governor’s Cup U-16 even in Russia.
Kehinde Obareh (Boxing)
Kehinde won a gold medal in the Lightweight (57-60kg) division at the All-Africa Games . She suffered a wrist injury in 2014 which affected her career. However, she recovered after a surgery abroad to stake a claim as African’s best in her category. Speaking to Punch Nigeria, she said being a boxer or military personnel has not made her different from any other women woman out there, but she admits some men get nervous when they realise she is a soldier cum-boxer.”
Joyce Ekworomadu (Basketball)
She was born in the United States to Nigerian parents . Joyce had a great passion for basketball since she was 10 years old. She emerged in the Southland Conference Player of the Year and Student Athlete of the Year in 2008. According to her, “I am the first generation American born in my family, but I am 100 percent Nigerian, and I love to embrace the culture.”
Women all over the world are adding value to the sports world, and the Nigerian sportswomen are not left out. For positive growth in sport, women should be actively involved and encouraged to do so.
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