2017 wasn’t shorn of some fantastic individual performances from some Nigerians sportsmen and women. In the year under review, Nigerians were impressive in different genres of sports from football to tennis, to combat sports.
We take a look at five of those Nigerians.
1. Aruna Quadri (Tennis)
Aruna Quadri continued his remarkable rise in tennis with an exceptional 2017 after a good year in 2016.
In 2016, Quadri was impressive in Rio Olympic Games and ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Morroco. He got even better in 2017 which saw him become the first African to win the men’s singles event of the ITTF Challenge Polish Open.
Quadri achieved this feat by beating Japan’s Kaii Yoshida after six sets (11-7, 11-13 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 14-12) in the final.
In 2017, the 28-year-old also won the ITTF Africa Cup, beating Egypt’s Oma Assar in the final in June.
2. Adekuoroye Odunayo (Wrestling)
Adekuoroye Odunayo continued her steady rise in wrestling following her huge silver medal win at the World Championship in Paris.
just qualifying for the final of the 55kg women category, she became
the first Nigerian to compete in the final of the World Championship.
she lost in the final, it was still a huge feat for the 23-year-old who
became the first Nigerian to win a silver medal at the World
In the year under review, Odunayo also made it to number one in the 55kg category.
The Ondo State-born fighter has been on a rise; in 2015 she won bronze at the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas.
3. Victor Moses (Football)
Unarguably the best Nigerian footballer of 2017 following his exploits for Chelsea in the Premier League and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Victor Moses played a crucial role in the Chelsea’s 2017 Premier League title win, making 22 consecutive Premier League starts from September 2016 to April 2017, 28 starts and 33 league appearances in total.
He was also Super Eagles best player in their successful 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign scoring three goals in four games.
He rounded up the year with nominations for the BBC African Footballer of the Year and CAF Player of the Year awards.
4. Kamaru Usman (Martial Arts)
A Nigerian star emerged in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2017 and he is Kamaru Usman.
Usman who fights in the Welterweight category has become well known for his aggressive and brash-talking style.
Born in Benin City, the Nigerian mixed martial artist moved to the United States with his family when he was 5-years-old.
fighting in high school and University, Usman is enjoying a steady rise
in martial arts since his MMA debut in November 2012.
He moved to the UFC in 2015 but it was in 2017 that he became well known.
After his win against Sergio Moraes
in a UFC Welterweight up-and-comers bout in September, big things are
expected for the fighter who calls himself the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’.
5. Asisat Oshoala (Football)
Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala continues to be the trailblazer in Nigerian women’s football.
Oshoala had another massive year, securing a move to the China where she signed with Dalian Quanjian.
With Dalian Quanjian, the 23-year-old had a successful debut year, scoring 12 goals in the Chinese Women’s Super League. She was voted the best striker in the league.
She also helped Dalian Quanjian to the Chinese Women Super Cup title, scoring a brace in a 5-3 win in the final over Shangai.
She wrapped up 2017 with a nomination for the 2017 African Women’s Player of the Year award. She is the current holder of the award which she has won two times.
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