The first vice president of the current Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Tafida Gadzama, has said Nigeria’s track and field athletes will surpass the record of three gold medals set at the 1990, 1994 and 2014 Commonwealth Games as the athletics event of the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games begins.
The trio of Yusuf Alli (Long Jump), Adewale Olukoju (Discus Throw) and Fatimah Yusuf (400m) set the benchmark for most gold medals won at a single edition of the Games in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990. This record was equaled four years later at The British Columbia in Canada by the trio of Obinna Eregbu (Long Jump),
Mary Onyali (100m) and the women’s 4x100m relay team before Blessing Okagbare, who achieved a first ever sprints double for Nigeria and Ese Brume in the long jump won another three gold medals for Nigeria at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
“The track and field team will surely surpass that record here in Birming-ham,” said the Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medalist. “There has been a resurgence in our performances since the present board of the AFN was inaugurated in June 2021.
Our programme and engagements with our athletes have been richly rewarded such that we have either returned the team to podium finishes after over a decade of fruitfulness trips to major global championships or achieve feats unprecedented.
“At the delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan last year and the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia last March, Nigeria returned to the podium after 13 and 14 years of unsuccessful attempts while at the World U-20 championships in Nairobi, Kenya last year and the World Athletics championships last month in Oregon, USA, set new records and benchmarks.
“We won a total of seven medals in Nairobi, one better than we ever won in 1990 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria with an unprecedented haul of four gold medals. We also finished third on the medal table, our highest position since 1986 when we started participating in the championships.
“Our feat at the World Championships just last month is still fresh in our memories. We not only produced a world champion for the first time but also a world record holder.”