Thursday, 4 August 2016

5 reasons Nigerians will never forget 1996.

History beacons as the 2016 Olympic Games get underway in Rio, Brazil and Nigeria is set to once again participate in the most celebrated sporting event on earth.
Inadequate preparations as well as lack of funds have deemed the country’s chances in getting at least a medal this year.
Nigeria’s best outing at the Summer Olympics was in Atlanta, USA in 1996, where Team Nigeria led by Mary Onyali finished 32nd overall, winning six medals including 2 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze.

Here are five reasons Nigerians will never forget Atlanta 96′

1. Gold in Football

Nigeria’s male football team in an unbelievable manner stunned the world at the games defeating football powers like Brazil and Argentina to win Gold at the tournament.
Having lost 1-0 to Brazil in the preliminary rounds, Nigeria made the most remarkable comeback in Olympic-football history from 3-1 to 4-3, beating the Samba Boys in the epic semi-final through the golden-goal rule.
Dream Team celebrate their triumph at the Olympics
Nigeria proceeded to the final and also defeated Argentina after a last minute tactical defensive blunder, as Emmanuel Amuneke slotted home the winner. It ended 3-2 and Nigeria claimed Gold in football.

2. Chioma Ajunwa’s gold medal

Chioma Ajunwa’s heroic in athletics is also another reason Nigerians still reminisce the the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Chioma Ajunwa leaping to gold at Atlanta ’96
The former Super Falcons player made a historic leap of 7.12metres, interestingly was her first try in the star-studded Long Jump which was all she needed to claim gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Till date, she remains Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medalist.

3. Mary Onyali’s exploits at the Games

One of Nigeria’s greatest sprinters Mary Onyali was the favourite to win the 200m female race in Atlanta.
Onyali came third
The Nigerian star came third having returned 22.38secs behind France’ Marie-José Pérec who claimed gold in 22.12secs and Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey-Page who bagged silver in 22.24secs.
That was an exceptional moment for Nigerians at the games.

4. The 4×400 meters female relay team

Another striking feat at the Games was the silver medal won by the 4×400 meters relay team led by Falilat Ogunkoya, Bisi Afolabi, Fatima Yusuf and Charity Opara.
Falilat Ogunkoya, Marie-José Perec y Cathy Freeman – Atlanta 1996
The team came second with a time of 3:21:04 behind the United States and ahead of Germany who settled for bronze.

5. Ducan Dokiwari’s bronze in boxing

 The super heavy weight boxer got the bronze for Nigeria after losing 6-7 narrowing to Tonga’s Wolfgramm in the semi finals.
Paea Wolfgramm, Heavyweight Silver medalist for Tonga at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta at the expense of Duncan Dokiwari
Dokiwari had won gold at the Commonwealth Games and the All Africa Games in 1994 and 1995 before settling for bronze in Atlanta.

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