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  • Amusan, Opeyori, Anyanacho, Adekuroye, Oborududu tops list

Quartet Tobi Amusan, Anuoluwapo Opeyori, Blessing Oborodudu and Elizabeth Anyanacho are among the top Nigerian athletes tipped to win gold medals at the African Games in Accra, Ghana, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Team Nigeria is represented by 358 athletes in 25 sports at the 13th African Games in three Ghanaian cities – Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast.

Currently ranked second behind Egypt — who have two gold, one silver and one bronze — with one silver and one bronze in the medals table at the Games, which officially begins on Friday (today), Team Nigeria will be banking on world record holder in the 100m hurdles Amusan to win a third successive African Games gold medal in her event. The hurdles heats for the 100m hurdles heats begin March 19.

Table tennis events have been ongoing at the Games, with Aruna Quadri and Offiong Edem claiming Nigeria’s first medals – silver and bronze respectively on Tuesday.

Amusan, 26, a University of Texas at El Paso alumni won gold in the 100m hurdles at the 2015 and 2019 African Games in Congo Brazzaville and Rabat, Morocco respectively.

In February, Amusan set an African record in the 60m hurdles at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, achieving the feat by clocking 7.75secs and surpassing her previous mark of 7.77secs established in Kazakhstan in January.

In the men’s badminton, reigning African champion and Nigeria’s top-ranked player Opeyori will aim to replicate his heroics at the recent All Africa Senior Badminton Championship in Cairo, Egypt, where he won the African men’s singles title for a third time in a row.

The 26-year-old won gold in the men’s singles and with the mixed team at the last edition of the African Games in Rabat. He also won silver in the men’s doubles.

Having made history by becoming the first Nigerian female taekwondo athlete that will compete at two Olympic Games after picking her ticket at the African Qualifying Tournament in Dakar, Senegal in February, Anyanacho is another gold medal hopeful for Nigeria at the African Games.

The 24-year-old, who won bronze in her debut appearance at the last edition of the Games in Rabat in the 67kg category, looks poised to improve on her performance in Ghana.

A gold medal hopeful in track and field is Favour Ofili in the 400m, who is also a member of the country’s 4×400m relay team.

Also expected to stage a fight for the gold in the 400m is Esther Joseph, who ended the dominance of Patience Okon-George at the national trials in February.

Joseph won the race with a new personal best of 52.00secs while Okon-George finished a distant sixth with a time of 56.06secs.

Israel Okon and Consider Ekanem (100m), Ese Brume (long jump) and sprinter Enoch Adegoke, who is making a return after featuring in the 100m men’s final at the Tokyo Olympics, are also top medal contenders.

In boxing, rising light-heavyweight star Adam Olaore, who is making his debut at the Games after sealing a place at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, is seeking to continue his dominance in his division by claiming the highest prize in Accra.

In only his third major event for Nigeria, the British-bred boxer wants to show his outstanding ability in Ghana.

“Only the best is what I want to be,” Olaore told

Like Olaore, Ifeanyi Onyekwere is another medal prospect at the Games.

Onyekwere is seen as one of Nigeria’s brightest boxing talents following his bronze medal win at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In weightlifting, Team Nigeria will also hope to dominate the event, which begins on Sunday, after finishing second at the last edition with a total of 50 medals — 16 gold, 16 silver and 18 bronze. A total of 13 weightlifters are representing Nigeria in Accra.

Part of the country’s medal sure bets in weightlifting include the 2019 African Games gold medallist in -59kg category, Rafiatu Lawal, who is upbeat about her chances in Ghana.

Lawal said, “The team does not see the North Africans as a threat at the Games. Nigeria is the giant of Africa in the women’s weightlifting event and we will continue to dominate for a long time. I am not going to stress myself at the African Games but the tone of the Games will determine my output.”

Also in the men’s -67kg category is debutant Edidiong Umoafia, who believes that the men lifters are ready for competition from other African countries.

The 2022 Commonwealth bronze medallist said, “The lifters are prepared for the event and we are going to give our best. The weightlifting event is going to be very competitive and I hope to win gold medals for Nigeria.”

Other prospects among the women lifters are Morufat Folarin (-45kg), Adijat Olarinoye (-55kg), Ruth Ayodele (-64kg), Joy Ogbonne (-71kg), Taiwo Liadi (-76kg) and Mary Osijo (-87kg).

In tennis, top seeds Oyinlomo Quadri and Marylove Edwards are expected to star in Ghana. Quadre, the highest-ranked Nigerian woman tennis player in the WTA, buoyed by her wealth of experience in the USA, will seek to improve on her debut at the last edition, where she won bronze in the women’s doubles and team event.

In wrestling, duo Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Oborududu are top favourites for gold at the African Games.

Adekuoroye, a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will be desperate to add an African Games gold medal to her enviable collection when she debuts in Ghana in the 57kg class.

She had previously won three bronze and a silver medal at the World Championships, as well as gold at the African Championships and the Islamic Solidarity Games.

Just like Adekuoroye, Oborududu, a silver medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is another top shot for the gold medal in the women’s 68kg.

She won 12 consecutive gold medals (five in a row from 2018 till date) at the African Championship.

The 34-year-old has won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

In football, Nigeria’s women’s football team is expected to retain their title in Accra.

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