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Sports News of Friday, 9 December 2022


Year in Review: Top four Nigerian sports personalities of 2022

A collage of Asisat Oshoala, Tobi Amusan and Victor Osimhen A collage of Asisat Oshoala, Tobi Amusan and Victor Osimhen

The year 2022 has not been a great sporting year for Nigeria sports enthusiasts with many highs and lows.

One major upset was the Super Eagles failure to qualify for the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar after the three-time African champions were edged by arch-rivals Ghana in the playoff doubleheader.

Months later, the same rival blocked the local Super Eagles from competing at next year's African Nations Championship billed for Morocco.

On the brighter side, Team Nigeria made history at the 2022 Commonwealth Games winning a record of 12 gold medals and 35 medals in total.

Despite the general disappointments, some individuals stood out with some remarkable performances in their different fields of endeavours in the sporting fraternity.

In this piece, examines five such sports personalities who have shone amid the gloom.

1. Tobi Amusan

Tobi Amusan is undoubtedly the most outstanding Nigerian sports personality in the year 2022.

The 25-year-old hurdler had an outstanding campaign at the World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games, and the Diamond League.

At the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July, Amusan set a new world record after she clocked an astonishing 12.12 seconds in the women's 100 metres hurdles event to break the previous record by America's Keni Harrison.

Nigeria's athletic queen followed that record up with another remarkable performance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Ogun State-born athlete clocked another record of 12.30 seconds in the same women 100 metres hurdle event to clinch a gold medal for Team Nigeria.

Amusan capped it all up with another win in the Diamond League in Zurich to set a new meet record.

She also dominated the Berlin Meet winning the 100-metre hurdles event with a time of 12.45 seconds.

Amusan's stellar performances in 2022 have not gone unnoticed, as the World Athletics nominated her for the World Athlete of the Year award.

2. Victor Osimhen

The name 'Osimhen' is by some margins the biggest name in Nigerian football at the moment.

Aside from missing the 2021 Nations Cup in Cameroon earlier this year, the 23-year-old has had an impressive footballing campaign this year.

The former Lille striker was voted the best Serie A young player at the end of the 2021/2022 season after scoring 14 goals in 27 league appearances for the Naples-based team.

Osimhen began the new season on a blistering note scoring 10 goals in 14 appearances for Napoli in all competitions.

Before the World Cup break, the Super Eagle was the top scorer in Serie A with 9 goals in 11 outings for Luciano Spalletti's side, helping them to open an 8-point gap at the top of the Serie A.

At the international level, Osimhen made history by scoring four times in Nigeria's 10-0 mauling of Sao Tome and Principe in the AFCON qualifiers in June.

The Napoli talisman was voted the ‘Emerging Player Of The Year’ at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, beating the likes of Barcelona's Gavi and Real Madrid's Federico Valverde to the prestigious award.

3. Asisat Oshoala

Despite having a season marred by injuries, Asisat Oshoala still emerged as one of the best-performing Nigerian sports personalities in 2022.

The Super Falcons striker won the 2021/22 Women’s Spanish Primera Division Pichichi award for the league’s top scorer after scoring 20 goals.

The 28-year-old fended off competition from Real Madrid's Geyse (19), and teammates Lieke Martens and Alexia Putellas who both finished the season with 17 goals apiece.

In July, the ex-Super Falcons captain was crowned the best CAF Women's Footballer of the Year for a record 5th time, having won the award in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

4. Ese Brume

Ese Brume had a brilliant campaign in 2022.

The 26-year-old won a gold medal in the women's long jump event at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after leaping 7.00m to set a new games record and beating the previous record of 6.97m set by Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson.

Brume, prior to the Commonwealth Games had already won a silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.

The long jumper was part of the Team Nigeria contingents who received the OON honour from President Muhammadu Buhari at the event organised to celebrate the medallist for their remarkable achievement at the Commonwealth Games.