A former sprint sensation, Mary Onyali, has applauded Nigerian athletes and the minister of Sports Sunday Dare after the rankings released by the World Athletics had 29 top athletes in the country in the Top 100 list in their various disciplines.
Onyali, a special assistant to the Sports Minister, noted that this feat has never been achieved before in history as she stressed that the policy of the Minister of sports ‘is working like magic’ to lift sports generally in the country.
Fifteen of the athletes are ranked in the top 50 of their event out of which six made it to the top 20. Reigning world 100m hurdles champion and record holder, Tobi Amusan, is ranked first while Ese Brume is ranked third in the long jump event.
Both athletes won medals for Nigeria at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and also at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Sprinter Favour Ofili who made history as the first and only Nigerian athlete to run inside 23 seconds and 22 seconds over the 200m indoor (22.46) and outdoor (21.96), Discus Thrower, Chioma Onyekwere, triple jumper Ruth Usoro and shot putter, Chukwuebuak Enekwechi complete the list of those ranked among the top 20 best.
Five Nigerian sprinters are ranked in the women’s 100m with Rosemary Chukwuma topping the list. Others are Grace Nwokocha, Ofili, Tima Godbless and Ezinne Abba.
Favour Ashe leads three others in the Men’s 100m top 100 list. Ashe, the reigning Nigeria 100m king is ranked 25th while reigning African Games king, Raymond Ekevwo is ranked 30th. Others are Ushoritse Itshekiri (58) and Alaba Akintola (62).
Udodi Onwuzurike (25) and Akintola are the two who made it in the 200m while national record setters, Ezekiel Nathaniel (46) and Chinacherem Prosper Nnamdi (40).
Onyali in a swift reaction commended this feat saying that it was the 3D policy (Discipline, Determination and Dedication) of the Minister that was working for Nigeria.
‘This is the best we have achieved in the rankings and I believe it is a result of hard work and also our 3D effect. The Sunday Dare regime as sports minister is leaving behind a huge legacy in sports,’ Onyali said.