With 2017 winding down, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI digs up some memorable sporting moments for Nigeria in the eventful outgoing year…
SUPER EAGLES QUALIFICATION FOR 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP
After failing to qualify for back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles eventually qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
When the draw for the qualifiers was made, there were huge doubts over the possibility of the Eagles picking the sole ticket ahead of established teams like current African champions Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.
But against all the odds, the Eagles qualified for their sixth World Cup with a game to spare, beating Cameroon 4-0 in Uyo in September and Zambia 1-0 in October to seal the ticket.
HOME-BASED SUPER EAGLES’ QUALIFICATION FOR 2018 CHAN
Prior to the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2018 World Cup, the home-based Eagles secured their ticket for next year’s Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco.
The home-based Eagles were drawn against Benin Republic in the play-off round from the West B zone.
In the first leg played in Cotonou, Benin Republic won 1-0 thanks to an 89th minute penalty by Mama Seibou.
But in the return leg at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, a goal in each half by Rabiu Ali and Kingsley Eduwo, sealed a third CHAN appearance for the home-based Eagles.
ODUNAYO ADEKUOROYE WINS SILVER AT 2017 WORLD WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP
Nigerian wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye made history as she became the first ever female Nigerian wrestler to win a silver medal at the World Wrestling Championship.
Adekuoroye, 24, achieved the feat at the 2017 World Wrestling Championship in Paris, France in August.
After defeating Iryna Kurachkina from Belarus 10-0 in the semi-finals, Adekuoroye lost to 18-year-old Haruna Okuno from Japan 5-4 in the 55kg final match.
At the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Adekuoroye won gold for Team Nigeria.
D’TIGRESS EMERGED WINNERS OF THE 2017 FIBA WOMEN’S AFROBASKET
Nigeria women’s basketball team D’Tigress were crowned African champions at the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Championship in Bamako, Mali.
The coach Sam Vincent-led side defeated Senegal 65-48 points in the final to claim their third continental title after winning it in 2003 and 2005.
Following their triumph at the 2017 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Championship, D’Tigress secured one of the two qualifying tickets for the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.
NIGERIA’S HISTORIC QUALIFICATION FOR THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Nigeria will make its debut at the Winter Olympics holding in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018, thanks to trio of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga who qualified for the bobsled event in 2017.
Bobsled, also known as Bobsleigh, is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score.
Driver Adigun, brakemen Onwumere and Omeoga qualified for the event over five races held in Utah, Whistler and Calgary in Canada, becoming the first African team, men or women, to qualify in the Bobsled category.
The three Nigerian women team was only formed in 2016. Adigun competed for Team Nigeria in the women’s 100 metre hurdles at the London 2012 summer Olympics.
Onwumere claimed gold alongside Blessing Okagbare, Lawretta Ozoh and Cecilia Francis in the 4 x 100 metres relay at the 2015 All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. She also represented Nigeria at the 2015 IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas.
Omeoga was a former collegiate Track and Field athlete for the University of Minnesota.