Team Nigeria are hoping to round off their spectacular performance at this year’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India by adding another gold to their medal haul.
Oputa Kate will be up against Australian, Morrow Catherine, in the finals of the Women’s single wheel chair table tennis event today and a victory will cap a wonderful display by the Nigerian contingent.
To secure a final ticket, Oputa defeated her compatriot, Obiora Faith 3-2 in a keenly contested semi final match played yesterday.
The Nigerian contingent has so far amassed a total of 10 gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals; a feat second only to the 1994 performance in which Nigeria won a record 11 gold medals and 37 medals in all at the Victoria Games in Canada.
However, the previous target of emerging as Africa’s best Commonwealth country is no longer feasible as South Africa currently lead with 12 Gold medals.
That notwithstanding, Nigeria will delight in the new feat it attained on Tuesday when three Power lifters made a historic medal haul, clinching the gold, silver and bronze medals in the female event of Power lifting.
Esther Onyema claimed gold with a total of 148.1 kg; Ganiyatu Onaolapo won silver with 139.3kg and Osamwenyobor Arasomwan clinched bronze with 124.6kg.
It is Nigeria’s first medal sweep across any Commonwealth Games sport.
Already Ibrahim Bio, the Sports minster and Chairman of the National sports Commission has promised cash reward for every medal won in India, while also adding that the NSC is planning a reception for the team on arrival from India in Lagos this weekend.
Bio commended the efforts of the athletes while pointing out that preparation for the All African Games and the London 2012 Games will begin in earnest.
According to Bio, the aim is to do better and surpass the previous feat already achieved at both Games Aside the failed drug test for two Nigerian athletes; Damola Osayomi and Gabriel Okon, it has been a good run for team Nigeria, which was without her brightest medal prospect, Blessing Okagbare who was ruled out of the Games due to injury a few days to its commencement.