Wrestler Adijat Idris lost out to Ukraine’s Oksana Livach in the quarter-final of the 50kg women’s freestyle event on Friday morning to end Nigeria’s hopes of adding more medals to its cabinet at the Tokyo Olympics.
Livach defeated the 19-year-old 10-0 by technical knockout, meaning Team Nigeria ended the Games with two medals.
Nigeria’s only medals were from Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume. Brume won a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event, while Oborududu clinched silver in the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling category to rekindle the country’s battered hopes in an Olympic where ten of its athletes were suspended.
The country’s participation at the Olympics was marred by internal squabbles which many observers blamed for the athletes’ outing in Tokyo.
Several athletes had raised concerns over their welfare before and during the Games in the Asian nation.
Earlier in the week, shot-putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi made headlines after he posted a video of himself washing his “only” jersey ahead of the event, providing further insights into the welfare of the country’s contingents.
He later assured everyone that all was fine and battle-ready for the final – where he ended 12th.
Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi competes in the men’s shot put qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)
Sportswear giants Puma’s termination of its four-year contract with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) further highlighted the leadership crisis in the federation which has marred preparations for Tokyo.
“As a direct consequence of the recent developments, particularly at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 and pursuant to clauses 9.2 and 7.3 of the Agreement,” the company said, “we hereby terminate the Agreement with immediate effect.”
As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told the Nigerian contingent before their departure, they opened “a page in history” for themselves and the country can draw many positives from their outing in Japan despite the disappointments.
For the first time, the nation had a gymnast at the Games – Uche Eke – as well as in the Canoeing Sprint with Ayomide Bello.
On the track, Enoch Adegoke broke a 25-year jinx as the first Nigerian to reach the final of the men’s 100m event. He ran 10.00secs but could not finish the final race due to injury. In 1996, Davidson Ezinwa became the first Nigerian to achieve the feat.
Oborududu, the 10-time African champion, also wrote her name in Nigeria’s Olympics folklore when she became the first Nigerian to win a medal in wrestling on the biggest sports competition in the world.