The Olympic games have begun and more than seven days in Nigerians have only been able to secure a few small wins but has suffered unbelievable loss, most astounding being the case of 10 Nigerian athletes banned from participating due to failure to observe due testing before the Olympics.
One of the most surprising losses to hit Team Nigeria was that of veteran tennis player Quadri Aruna, who played his final match and bowed out of the olympic games in a 4-2 loss to Brazil player Gustavo Tsuboi.
Aruna started the game with victory in the first round but was beaten out in the next two games. The loss marked the end of the 2020 Olympics for Aruna who received the feat of being the only African to have reached the Quarterfinals of the olympics.
The Nigerian team also suffered two defeats Godwin Olofua and Anuoluwapo in badminton, lost following an elimination of 2-0 in the Men’s Doubles against Russia.
The women’s team also suffered the same fate in a loss of 2-0 against South Korea in the Women’s single event. This is the second loss of Dorcas Adesokan, the only representative for Nigeria and Africa for the single event as she was fresh from defeat against her Spanish opponent in her first group game.
Swimming was full of small victories for Nigerians as we got a win through Habibat Abiola Ogunbawo who won came in first at the Heat 1 of Women’s 100m Freestyle in the Swimming event.
Ogunbawo, 17 years, also set a national record for Nigerians as the first Nigerian woman to swim under the one minute mark with a time of 59.74s. Surpassing the last record of 1.00.50 set for over 14 years by Ngozi Monu.
However, Ogunbawo finished 48th overall in the 6 heats and could not qualify for the semi finals.
Team Nigeria got a qualified for the semifinals in the Women’s 100m heat through the National Sports Festival double champion Grace Nwokocha finish in third place. Grace ran a personal best of 11.000s to finish third securing an automatic qualification.
She had a slow start off the blocks but got enough momentum late in the race to finish third. We look forward to improvements in her starting to enable her get a fighting chance in qualifying for the finals.
In another heat, Nigerian legend Blessing Okagbare won with a time of 11.05. She had a good stride starting off well but slowed down before the ribbon.
The Nigerian Basketball team D’ Tigers who bagged a win against the US in their exhibition game has suffered two consecutive losses with the latest to Germany.
D’ Tigress also suffered a loss in their first game, going up against the US, but they have a chance at redemption in their second match against Italy.
The biggest disappointment however goes to the seclusion of 10 Nigerian athletes who were banned from the Olympics by the Athletics Integrity Union (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics to manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping.
This was due to violations resulting in ‘Category A’ Federations, that is, failing to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping. The athletes were disqualified from the final entries for the Olympics.
This hits hard most especially for the athletes that were geared up to participate but have now been stripped of having even a fighting chance in their respective fields.
Part of the statement reads, “The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than three weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event.
“Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.”
Nigeria is not the only country to suffer this disappointment, eight athletes from other countries were also declared ineligible by the AIU, while two others were substituted prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.
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