Sports in Nigeria has been seen as a unifying factor necessary to hold firm the fabrics of the country and has been exploited though not fully.
Nigeria just as every other nation took part in sporting activities over the course of the year and here are some major events of the year 2019.
1. African Wrestling Championships
The 5th African Wrestling Championship was the biggest international wrestling event to be ever hosted in Nigeria.
It was staged in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from February 7th – 11th and it had no fewer than 90 wrestlers which comprising both males and females who represented Nigeria at the competition.
At the end of the 5 day competition, Nigeria emerged the overall champions, coming first in four major categories of the championship which had 90 gold medals at stake.
Team Nigeria wrestlers emerged top in the cadet women wrestling, junior freestyle, senior women wrestling and senior freestyle wrestling.
Some of the countries that participated in the championship apart from the host Nigeria are Liberia, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Namibia, Kenya, Burundi, Cameron and Ivory Coast.
Others are Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Madagascar, and Senegal.
2. Winter Olympics
Nigeria made her debut at a Winter Olympics by featuring in the 2018 edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea from 9–25 February 2018.
Gbenga Elegbeleye led the Nigeria delegation which consisted of four women: bobsledders Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga, and Ngozi Onwumere, and skeleton racer Simidele Adeagbo.
The quartet made history as the first African women to compete in Bobsled and Skeleton events in a competition that is a rare feature on Nigeria’s sporting calendar. Sadly, they ended the Olympics without a medal.
No African nation has won a winter medal but Nigerian women are already planning to try again at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
3. Lagos City Marathon
The Lagos Marathon is a bronze label marathon held annually in Lagos, Nigeria which took place on February 10.
Sponsored by Access Bank, over 100,000 participants were on ground vying for glory.
The race was eventually won by French-Kenyan national Abraham Kiprotich who set a new record time of 2:13:04 hours in the men’s category while Ethiopian national Alemenesh Herpha Guta came first in the women’s category.
A 10 km Family Race was introduced to encourage participation from non-professional runners for fitness, fun and health purpose
4. Commonwealth Games
Nigeria competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to April 15, 2018.
With a 90 member contingent, Team Nigeria finished in the ninth position winning 24 medals comprising of 9 gold, 9 silver, and 6 bronze medals which was a step below the 11 gold, 11 silver, and 14 bronze medals won at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Para Athletes accounted for five of the top podium placements while wrestling had three and athletics one
Team Nigeria competed in nine events – Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics, Basketball, Boxing, Para Powerlifting, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
5. Russia 2018 World Cup
The FIFA World Cup is arguably the world’s biggest sporting event on the calendar for the year. And national team, Super Eagles participated for the sixth but were booted out of the tournament during the group stages by Argentina.
Nigeria has never gone beyond the Second Round in previous editions attended.
The team however made records but off the pitch as the Nike-designed jersey sold out in a matter of minutes as eager fans queued up, ready to spend at least $90 amounting to almost N33, 000.
Prior to its official June 1 release date, Nike had already received 3 million pre-orders for the jersey, according to the Nigerian Football Federation.
That sets a new pre-order record for an African team and even some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world.
6. Senior Africa Athletics championships
For 29 years, Nigeria was snubbed from hosting this championship after it hosted this flagship event in Lagos in 1989.
Asaba in Delta State was however chosen to host the 21st edition of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Senior Championships tagged ‘Asaba 2018’ from August 1 to 5 2018.
Kenya emerged victorious at the end of hostilities winning 19 medals made up of 11 gold, six silver and two bronze medals.
The East Africans, who hosted and won the 19th edition in 2014, beat defending champions, South Africa and host, Nigeria, to the second and third positions respectively.
7. U-20 Women’s World Cup
The Christopher Danjuma led team made it to the quarter finals losing 2-1 to Spain.
However, there were reports claiming that players and official of the team were not paid their entitlements before and during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals in France.
8. 2018 African Women Cup of Nations
With the victory, the Falcons had been to the final nine times out of 11 and lost none and will represent Africa at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Encomiums were poured on the team and were financially rewarded by individuals such as Aliko Dangote and Rabiu Samad who gave them N75m. The NFF had paid the team 10,000 USD per player pledge for clinching their 9th AWCON title.
9. National Youth Games
The 4th edition of the National Youth Games was held from September 10 – 22, 2018 at the Sports Complex of the University of Ilorin which was designed to hold annually, but that was only achieved three years after the first edition.
Delta on Sunday made history, winning the Games in Ilorin to make it four wins out of four competitions.
They won the multi-sports youth development Games for the third time in 2017, after garnering 61 medals, made up of 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze.
10. 19th National Sports Festival
The objective of the Games originally meant to be biennial multi-sports events is to foster unity and help unearth new talents.
Delta State finished top of the table with an unprecedented 342 medals, relegating the likes of Rivers, Edo and Lagos State to the first, second runners-up and fourth positions respectively.
Delta who were financially motivated by the State governor raked in 159 gold, 84 silver, 99 bronze medals, Rivers State won 66 gold, 54 silver, 65 bronze to take the their total medal hauls to 185.
Second runners-up, Edo, won 47 gold, 49 silver and 51 silver medals, making their medals 138.