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Editorials, Sports

Nigerian Sporting Stars Shine Brightly in 2023

Nigerian athletes have excelled in a number of sports in 2023, making headlines with inspiring tales of victory and resiliency.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 20th December 2023

2023 has been a banner year for Nigerian athletes across various disciplines, with stories of triumph and resilience gracing the headlines. From the football pitch to the basketball court, track and field, and boxing ring, Nigerian stars have left their mark on the global stage.


Victor Osimhen: 


The Napoli forward cemented his place among the world’s elite by securing the 8th spot in the prestigious Ballon d’Or rankings. His remarkable season with Napoli, where he clinched the Serie A title and became the first African to win the Pichichi award, solidified his status as a footballing force.  Osimhen was nominated for several awards after his remarkable displays for Napoli in the 2022/2023 season.



The 24-year-old was named Italian Footballers’ Association (AIC) Serie A Player of the Year for the 2022/23 season. Above all, he was crowned the 2023 CAF Player of the Year, ending Nigeria’s 24 year barren run.


Tobi Amusan: 


Despite facing hurdles both on and off the track, including unfounded doping accusations, Amusan demonstrated her unwavering spirit. Though unable to defend her world title, she ended her season on a high note by securing her third consecutive Diamond League trophy, proving that her determination remains unmatched.



Amy Okonkwo: 


Leading the D’Tigress to victory at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket, Okonkwo earned the prestigious title of Most Valuable Player. Averaging a team-high 17.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, she emerged as the heart and soul of the D’Tigress, showcasing her exceptional talent and leadership.



Okonkwo headlined the All-Star Tournament team alongside Cierra Dillard (Senegal), Jannon Otto (Uganda), Sika Kone (Mali) and Tamara Seda (Mozambique).


Efe Ajagba: 


Ajagba had a flawless outing in 2023, going up against three opponents and successfully avoiding defeat in all of them. The run started with Stephan Shaw suffering a sixth-round TKO in January. Agbaja went on to defeat Zhan Kossobutskiy by disqualification in August. The Texas-based Nigerian also successfully defended his World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Heavyweight title in November.



Ajagba did it in style after recording a knockout victory against Australia’s Joe Goodall, improving his fighting record to 19-1.


Offiong Edem: 


Making history, Edem became the first Nigerian to win the European Cup women’s table tennis title. This remarkable achievement marked a significant milestone for Nigerian table tennis, showcasing Edem’s talent and dedication to the sport.



These are just a few of the many Nigerian athletes who have made their mark in 2023. Looking towards 2024, one can only anticipate further successes and achievements from these incredible individuals as they continue to shine on the world stage.

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