Sports Minister celebrates Nigeria’s independence anniversary, says sports remains biggest national unifier

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*We have reasons to celebrate our achievements in sports since 1960

The Hon. Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh joins all Nigerians to celebrate our dear Nation’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.

Senator Enoh stated that since 1960, Nigeria has made its mark amongst the comity of nations in the world of sports, with thousands of historic moments to note.

The Minister said “On this notable day of our Independence Anniversary, we cannot but reflect on how sports has been the biggest unifier of our country, as we think about the innumerable historic moments of our heroes past, they provoke nostalgic memories of our greatness.”

While this list is not close to being exhaustive, find below some historic sporting achievements Nigeria and Nigerians have recorded since 1960.

1. NIGERIA WINS ITS FIRST OLYMPIC MEDAL

In 1964, Nigeria proudly won its first Olympic Games medal, through the gloves of Light Middleweight boxer, Nojeem Maiyegun at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics.

2. MOST SUCCESSFUL NATION AT THE FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP

Nigeria is the most successful nation in the history of the U-17 FIFA World Cup. The Golden Eaglets have won the championship a record 5 times. In 1985, 1993, 2007 2013, and 2015, Nigeria emerged world champions.

3. ATLANTA ’96 FOOTBALL GOLD MEDAL

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA, Nigeria became the first African country to win a gold medal in the football event of the Olympics. Not only did we win the gold medal, we defeated some of the best nations in the world, on our way to the histroice feat. 

4. D’TIGERS WINS FIRST-EVER FIBA AFROBASKET TITLE

In 2015, Nigeria’s Senior Men’s Basketball team lifted the FIBA AfroBasket to emerge champions of Africa for the first time in history. 

5. NIGERIA’S WELLINGTON JIGHERE EMERGES WORLD SCRABBLE CHAMPION 

In 2015, Nigeria’s Wellington Jighere was crowned World Scrabble Champion, after winning the World Scrabble Championship in his third attempt. He became the first African to occupy the title.

6. NIGERIA’S CHIOMA AJUNWA WINS LONG JUMP GOLD MEDAL AT 1996 OLYMPICS

Chioma Ajunwa made Nigeria proud as she became the first African woman to win a gold medal in a field event at the Olympics.

7.  RICHARD DICK TIGER IHETU BECOMES FIRST AFRICAN TO WIN WORLD TITLE

Dick Tiger, also known as Richard Ihetu won the WBA World Middleweight Title in 1962, becoming the first African to win a world title in boxing.

8. NIGERIA HOSTS REST OF THE WORLD FOR U-2O WORLD CUP

Nigeria successfully hosted the rest of the world during the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1999.

9.  SUPER FALCONS MOST SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL TEAM IN AFRICA

Nigeria’s Senior Women’s National Team won a record-extending 11th African Women’s Cup of Nation to  add colour to their title of being the most successful national football team in Africa, both male and female combined.

10. D’TIGRESS CONQUERS AFRICA FOUR TIMES IN A ROW

Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team extended their three peat record in 2023, by winning the FIBA Afro Women’s basket to become 4 time consecutive champions of Africa

11. NIGERIAN WRESTLERS IN GOLD RUSH AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Nigerian wrestlers, Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Obordudu stromed to gold medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games to continue Nigeria’s success in Wrestling at the world stage.

12. OLUSOJI FASUBA SETS AFRICAN 100M RECORD

Olusoji Fasuba set the record of 9.85s at the Doha Grand Prix in May 2006, thus breaking the record of 9.86seconds set in 1996 for the fastest man in Africa.

 13. NIGERIA’S TOBI AMUSAN BREAKS 100M HURDLES WORLD RECORD

in 2022, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan broke the women’s 100m hurdles world record with a time of 12.12 second, before going on to winn god at the World Athletics Championships iOregon, USA

14. NIGERIA’S VICTOR OSIMHEN WINS TOP SCORER PRIZE, ITALIAN SCUDETTO

Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen won the highest goalscorer award in the Italian Serie A, helping Napoli win the scudetto for the first time in 33 years. He has gone on to become the highest scoring African in the Italian topflight.

15.  PAUL KEHINDE SHATTERS WORLD RECORD IN POWERLIFTING 

Paul Kehinde, a Nigerian Powerlifter broke the men’s 65kg World Record at the 2016 Rio Games, to win the gold medal. The Powerlifter then lifted a whopping 220 kg to break the world record he held.

“We have reasons to celebrate our sports men and women, heros and heroines, both local and international” Senator Enoh said. “Thousands of them have represented the country and has enhanced our global image. On this day, we celebrate their efforts and humongous sense of patriotism.”

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