Weightlifter Mary Taiwo Osijo represents Nigeria in the 87 kg weight class at international events. In August 2022, she won bronze at the Commonwealth Games. Taiwo hopes to compete in the Olympics in weightlifting in the near future. Taiwo works as a hairstylist and makeup artist. She enjoys working at these two jobs, which keep her busy when she is not attending sporting events at the stadium.
Early Life and Education
Mary Taiwo Osijo was born on November 21, 1996, in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, to Pastor Albert Adebayo Osijo and Alhaja Afolake Osijo. She was raised in Epe, Lagos state, where she attended LupeToro Primary School Epe. She later gained admission to Epe Girl’s High School in Epe.
Taiwo began his hockey career in Lagos. Her love of sports was reignited when she joined her father on the field for round-leather game practice. Taiwo’s father, the owner of Taiwo’s football team, worked tirelessly to develop the natural abilities of young players in Epe and the surrounding areas.
Taiwo increased her efforts to exercise hard, and her skill became apparent in a very short period of time because she was determined to excel and stand out among her peers in hockey games. She was chosen as a Games Prefect due to her consistent participation in the javelin, shot put, and debate games. Fortunately, the University of Lagos recognized her hockey abilities and wrote to request her release so that she could compete in hockey tournaments.
On a fateful day, when Taiwo’s father, a pastor, prayed for someone, the person took a quick glance at Taiwo and remarked that she had a naturally belligerent attitude and looked macho for such a little girl. “The man openly advised my father to support my boxing training; later, my father made a decisive move and purchased boxing equipment for her.” Taiwo joined the boxers at Epe Town’s Itaopo playing field with the goal of winning the championship. She claims she won a boxing match for Epe against four other females and took home the gold medal.
The Oba of Epe presented her with a cash gift of N50,000 in recognition of her outstanding achievement. The Chairman of the Local Government also offered her N25,000 and a boxing kit in order to inspire the throngs of youths and die-hard boxing fans who may develop an interest in pursuing a career in the sport.
Coach Ismaila Yusuf, who noticed Taiwo’s weightlifting talent and encouraged her to attend the training session, met her on her way home from the Ijebu Ode Stadium. She met young women who were deeply involved in exercise, which inspired her to take an active role in weightlifting. Despite her best efforts to advance further in the game, she was denied the opportunity to compete in the trial competition. She was about to give up, but she persisted.
Because of an obstructive attitude from a technocrat at the Asero Stadium in Abeokuta, she contacted coach Kenny, who made accommodations for her and provided opportunities for her to succeed.
She gave up weightlifting for four years in a row, during which time she eventually got married and had her two daughters.
According to her, the home fire accident she suffered in 2013 that nearly cost her life but was averted by God’s intervention will always remain a remarkable and unforgettable experience in her life. Taiwo went on to say that the day she won in Mauritius was the best day of her life. The audience applauded her achievement by standing up, and they all sang the National Anthem of Nigeria as she accepted the esteemed worldwide honour. She lost control and started crying with excitement.
National and International Titles
- 2011: National Sports Festival, Boxing Competition; 4th position
- 2014: Lagos State Sports Festival, she won 3 bronzes.
- 2014: All African Games Trial at Liberty Stadium, she won gold.
- 2020: Edo State Sports Festival-she won 1 gold and 2 silver. Governor Seyi Makinde compensated her with a prize award. She was later invited to the National Camp at Lokoja in preparation for the Mauritius international competition.
- 2022: She won bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
An estimate of her net worth is currently unavailable.