694 Views

Top 10 Nigerian Female Sports Gladiators

Females add glamour and spice to sports globally. In this report, ’TANA AIYEJINA takes a look at some Nigerian female athletes who have created waves on and off the sporting arena

ASISAT OSHOALA (FOOTBALL)

Oshoala is the new face of women football in Nigeria nay Africa. The 21-year-old broke into global limelight in 2014, when she emerged Most Valuable Player and top scorer at that year’s Women’s U-20 World Cup, as Nigeria finished runners-up to Germany.

She again led the Super Falcons to a record eighth African Women Championship in Nambia few months later, winning the MVP award, as well ending in second place in the top scorers chart behind compatriot Desire Oparanozie.

Her success story continued, as she was crowned the African Women’s Player of the Year for 2014, before sealing a high-profile move from Rivers Angels to English side, Liverpool Ladies, last year. In 2015, Oshoala was named the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.

BLESSING OKAGBARE (ATHLETICS)

Okagbare is no doubt Nigeria’s queen of the tracks. The African 100m record holder has been Nigeria’s most consistent athlete since winning a bronze medal in the women’s long jump event at the Beijing Olympics, eight years ago, as a 19-year-old.

Even though the multi-talented athlete has had her fair share of controversies with AFN officials and the media, she remains the fans favourite and the hope of a medal for the country at major global athletics championships.

Okagbare won gold in the 100m and 200m at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, becoming the fourth woman ever to achieve the feat. Her 10.85secs effort also saw her breaking Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie’s 12-year record of 10.91secs.

She’s married to ex-footballer, Igho Otegheri.

CHICHI IGBO (FOOTBALL)

Igbo may not be a household name on the football pitch but off it, especially on the social media, she is a big hit. The Fortuna Hjørring of Denmark midfielder catches the eye with her muscular and masculine physique, which she displays with glee on the social media.

Igbo’s boyish look and penchant for men’s clothes has made some question her sexuality but she insists she doesn’t have to dress like a girl, before she is seen as feminine. And she has never hidden her views about lesbianism — she once posted pictures of herself and her white girlfriend cuddling on the social media, which generated a lot of reactions.

Last year, Igbo, along with other gays took to the streets of Europe to celebrate after same sex marriage was legalised in the United States.

She posted on Facebook, “This is how my God created me; I might work out every now and then but all you see didn’t come from working out. I was created special and I love myself just the way I am.”

The 29-year-old, who has featured in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, represented Nigeria at the 2007 Women’s World Cup but she said she had to quit the team due to poor treatment of players by officials.

Last year, Igbo was featured alongside other female athletes in V Magazine, which had actress Scarlett Johansson on the cover.

MELISSA IFIDZHEN (TENNIS)

Promising tennis sensation Ifidzhen is seen as the future of the game in Nigeria. Born in Russia to a Nigerian father and Russian mother, the 17-year-old made her Nigeria debut last year, when she paired Elizabeth Garos-Pam to beat Algeria’s Saadia Belhadj and Sihem Sahli in the girls doubles of the 38th ITF/CAT African Closed Junior Championship in Egypt.

The right hander started playing tennis since she was five and previously represented Russia, where she was the U-12 champion in 2010.

She also won the European Championship in 2010 and was the champion in the singles and doubles events of the Hitec Bouneweg Junior U-14 Open. In 2014, she reached the final of the singles event of the Governor’s Cup U-16 event in Russia but she made up with a winners medal in the doubles event.

FUNKE OSHONAIKE (TABLE TENNIS)

At 40, former African champion Oshonaike is still one of Nigeria’s best most consistent athletes of all time. She began representing Nigeria at 14, before she moved to Italy in 1994, to play professionally. Oshonaike has appeared at five Olympic Games, beginning from Atlanta ’96.

ALSO READ  Olympic Medalist Blessing Okagbare Inducted Into The University Of Texas El Paso Sports Hall Of Fame

Now resident in Germany, Oshonaike’s rise from the streets of Somolu, Lagos, to global reckoning is truly meteoric. The third child in a family of 10, she had to battle with poverty from a very young age, but sports came to her rescue, and today, she is one of Africa’s most decorated female table tennis players.

A trained cosmetologist, Oshonaike has a Diploma in Physical and Health Education from the University of Lagos.

KEHINDE OBAREH (BOXING)

African champion Obareh punched her way to a gold medal win in the Lightweight (57-60kg) division at last year’s AAG.

The ever-smiling pugilist suffered a career-threatening wrist injury in 2014, during her defeat to former world champion India’s Sarita Devi. But she has bounced back after surgery abroad to stake a claim as Africa’s best in her category.

A Lance Corporal in the Nigerian Army, the beautiful Obareh says being a boxer or military personnel has not made her different from any other woman out there, but she admits some men get nervous when they realise she’s a soldier cum boxer. And her achievements alongside fellow soldiers Edith Agu-Ogoke and Caroline Linus has helped spread the female boxing gospel across the country.

JOYCE EKWOROMADU (BASKETBALL)

Ekworomadu’s parents are Nigerians but the basketball star was born in the United States and immediately took to basketball like bees to honey, when she first had a taste of the game at 10.

And it wasn’t long before she made her mark as she emerged the Southland Conference Player of the Year and Student Athlete of the Year in 2008.

Though born in the US, the basketballer did not forget her Nigerian roots, thus her decision to play for the D’Tigress even though she also stood a chance of representing the US.

“I am the first generation American born in my family but I am 100 per cent Nigerian and love to embrace the culture,” she said.

She was scouted in 2006/07 by then D’Tigress coach Kevin Cook, who then organised trials in Houston. Ekworomadu made the squad for the 2007 All Africa Games and since then, she’s been an integral member of the side.

On the courts, she’s been inspirational with the national team and is seen by her teammatesas a leader and role model. Off it, Sweet J, as Ekworomadu is fondly called, uses basketball to inspire young girls all over the world to become what they want to be.

LOVELINE OBIJI (SPECIAL SPORTS)

If there’s anything Obiji is good at, surely it’s breaking and setting new world records. The 25-year-old set a new world record in the women’s heavyweight category (from 61.1kg) at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, when she erased Egypt’s Randa Mahmoud’s previous effort of 143kg with a lift of 144kg.

At last year’s AAG, the London 2012 Paralympic gold medalist set another world record in the 86kg women’s powerlifting event with a lift of 149kg.

CYNTHIA UWAK (FOOTBALL)

Former Super Falcons striker and two-time African Women’s Player of the Year, Uwak, was a feared striker while featuring for the women’s national team. However, she has made the news in recent years off the pitch due to her boyish looks.

The 2007 Women’s World Cup star recently took to Instagram to post a topless photo of herself after doubts of her true gender by some.

The 29-year-old striker, who currently plays for Aland in Finland, admitted in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH that she was once “a tomboy climbing trees and playing with boys.” But she maintains that it shouldn’t be a reason to label her a man or a lesbian.

LAURITTA ONYE (SPECIAL SPORTS)

Nollywood actress Lauritta Onye is the country’s most successful dwarf athlete. She had carved a niche for herself in Nollywood, featuring in prominent roles in films like Lords of Money, before becoming an athlete in 2007.

The fair-skinned lady, who competes in discuss and shot put, won her first international medal—silver— at the 2011 All Africa Games. Last October, she won gold (Nigeria’s only medal) at the 7th IPC Athletics World Championships.

The Imo State-born athlete, who is popularly known as Laury White in Nollywood, was among athletes rewarded by President Muhammadu Buhari last month.

PUNCH

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun
Art, History and Culture
20 views
Art, History and Culture
20 views

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun

PH - April 25, 2018

The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun has stated that the just concluded Africa Drums Festival hosted by the state, generated a lot of income for both…

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate
Geeky & Smart
29 views
Geeky & Smart
29 views

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate

PH - April 25, 2018

A 26 year old first class graduate of the Department of Applied Chemistry, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Simon Godwin Idoko, has opened up on how he was…

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!
Best of Nigeria
58 views
Best of Nigeria
58 views

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!

MT - April 24, 2018

AMFEST EXPO is laden with the responsibility of expanding Africa’s creativity economy into the global market. African practitioners in the area of music, fashion, film, food and…

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them
Best of Nigeria
61 views
Best of Nigeria
61 views

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them

MT - April 24, 2018

Here are 6 important scams you must watch out for when you are online so as not to fall victim to online fraudsters, according to this article…

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC
Best of Nigeria
73 views
Best of Nigeria
73 views

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC

MT - April 24, 2018

While speaking in an exclusive interview during BBC Hausa morning programme on Tuesday, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, said he is not desperate to become Nigeria’s president,…

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows
Best of Nigeria
74 views
Best of Nigeria
74 views

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows

MT - April 24, 2018

A Pharmacist, Dr Chukwuma Agubata, has said that taking Irvingia Fat from nuts of Irvingia Gabonensis Var Excelsa, known as ‘Ogbono’ soup has helped to improve the…

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income
Best of Nigeria
70 views
Best of Nigeria
70 views

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income

MT - April 24, 2018

When it comes to money, everyone has a habit that either helps you save or lavish your money. But for those who have a reasonable income and…

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims
Entertainment
79 views
Entertainment
79 views

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims

MT - April 24, 2018

Popular Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw, has taken to her Twitter page on Tuesday to jokingly claim that one of the security aides of rapper, Falz the Bahd…

What I’d Do To Nigeria If I Were God – Popular Apostle Frankly Opens Up
Richest
73 views
Richest
73 views

What I’d Do To Nigeria If I Were God – Popular Apostle Frankly Opens Up

MT - April 24, 2018

Born on Sunday, April 24, 1938, Apostle Hayford Ikponmwonsa Alile, OFR, B.A. MBA (Hon) D.Sc., attended briefly the University of Ibadan as a State Scholar in Physics…

How Cee-C’s Bad Character Caused Her Disgrace – Actress, Susan Peters
Entertainment
80 views
Entertainment
80 views

How Cee-C’s Bad Character Caused Her Disgrace – Actress, Susan Peters

MT - April 24, 2018

Nollywood actress, Susan Peters has taken a swipe at ex-Big Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Cee-C who emerged as 1st runner up. According to Peters, Cee-C’s alleged bad…

Nollywood Actress, Stella Damascus Releases Lovely Photos As She Turns 40
Best of Nigeria
112 views
Best of Nigeria
112 views

Nollywood Actress, Stella Damascus Releases Lovely Photos As She Turns 40

MT - April 24, 2018

Nollywood actress, Stella Damascus has joined the 40 year old gang which includes fellow actresses Omoni Oboli, Omotola, Mercy Aigbe and many more. She marked the birthday…

Video: How Singer, Davido Curved a Groupie That Tried to Hug Him at a Night Club
Entertainment
79 views
Entertainment
79 views

Video: How Singer, Davido Curved a Groupie That Tried to Hug Him at a Night Club

MT - April 24, 2018

Being a celebrity, Davido is susceptible to different types of abuse by women who will do anything to get him in their pants or be his next…

I Will Drop The Biggest Song In Nigeria On April 30 – Davido
Entertainment
63 views
Entertainment
63 views

I Will Drop The Biggest Song In Nigeria On April 30 – Davido

PH - April 24, 2018

Davido says his upcoming single which will be released on April 30 will be the “biggest song in the country”. He said the song is called ‘Assurance’.…

Nigeria’s LPG Sector To Record $10bn Growth In 8 Years – NLPGA
Business
60 views
Business
60 views

Nigeria’s LPG Sector To Record $10bn Growth In 8 Years – NLPGA

PH - April 24, 2018

President of the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA, Mr. Nuhu Yakubu, has predicted the nation’s LPG sector to record $10 billion growth in the next eight…

Meet Lekan Babalola, Nigeria’s Unsung Multiple Grammy Winner
Best of Nigeria
78 views
Best of Nigeria
78 views

Meet Lekan Babalola, Nigeria’s Unsung Multiple Grammy Winner

PH - April 24, 2018

Lekan Babalola is finding his way back home again. Home is Lagos – the city of dreamers and the restless. It was in Lagos that a young…

Tiwa Savage, Gerald Albright To Headline 2018 Runway Jazz
Entertainment
69 views
Entertainment
69 views

Tiwa Savage, Gerald Albright To Headline 2018 Runway Jazz

PH - April 24, 2018

Runway Jazz, an event that brings jazz music and fashion to the same stage, has returned to do it bigger and better. The 2018 edition of the…

Meet Temitope Ogunsemo, 33-Year-Old Nigerian Who Built A $3Million EdTech Company
Best of Nigeria
88 views
Best of Nigeria
88 views

Meet Temitope Ogunsemo, 33-Year-Old Nigerian Who Built A $3Million EdTech Company

MT - April 24, 2018

Forbes magazine has interviewed a young Nigerian entrepreneur who has successfully built a digital education technology company that presently worth $3million in value. His story will motivate…

BBNaija’s Nina Bags Endorsement Deal
Entertainment
63 views
Entertainment
63 views

BBNaija’s Nina Bags Endorsement Deal

PH - April 24, 2018

Nina Chinonso Onyenobi, who came fifth on the BBNaija reality TV show, has landed an endorsement deal with Flawless By Mimi, a beauty supply shop in Nigeria.…

Loading...