Akin to what in athletics is referred to as photo-finish, Team Nigeria, made last minute medal haulage which pushed her from the fifth position to the second, thereby displacing South Africa, which sat in the second slot on the medals table for a long time.
Despite these, it is clear and obvious that if there had been a deliberate programme of sports development in the country and a working support structure, the massive west African nation need not to struggle to rule the continent.
The nation which believes more in prayer than hardwork lagged and struggled at the just concluded 1th African Games in Congo Brazzaville. They achieved this feat on the anvil of the exceptional brilliance of their athletes not a function of a working sports system.
The ‘African Olympics’ as the games is sometimes called ended Saturday, 19th September, 2015. Egypt having sailed off wildly with a massive margin of medal haul remained the continent’s best sports nation. The north African’s have since 1965 held that toga and never let it slip off their hands.
While awaiting official records, Egypt has emerged again as the overall best at the games having clinched a total of 217 medals- 85 gold, 64 silver and 68 bronze medals.
Team Nigeria garnered 47 gold medals to secure a comfortable second position, displacing South Africa. The winner of the 2011 edition, South Africa, came third with a total of 122 medals- 41 gold, 41 silver and 40 bronze medals.
The feat of emerging on the top rung for once led to some excitement in the Nigerian camp.
Director General of the National Sports Commission, Alhassan Yakmut, would be credited with some of the factors of the flash point resurgence of the nation. Upon his appointment, he made the sports federations to play more active roles in their camps, restricted the wasteful off-shore training with all teams training back at home and propagating a theory of making the athletes first in the scheme of things in the commission.
Congo arrives leader in table tennis: Hosts of the 11th African Games, Congo is now atop the medals table in table tennis event of the Games.
Nigeria and Egypt, which used to alternate leadership in the doubles event were upstaged by Congo, the new rising force in the sport.
The Congolese are currently parading some of their adopted Chinese players that have won all the doubles events, where Nigeria and Egypt held sway in the past.
Congo won the mixed doubles with the duo of Wang Jinan and Yuheng Li. They also won in men and women’s doubles. Han Xing and Li defeated Egypt duo of Dina Meshref and Nadeen El-Dawlatly, 3-2 while the pair of Hu Bin and Wang Jinan defeated their Egyptian opponents.
An elated Li told newsmen after the match having beaten some of the continent’s top players she could sleep very well.
“I am so happy and I am sure I can sleep very well tonight. Having played against top teams from the quarter-final stage, the final was not that easy.
“It was a very difficult match and I am happy that I am picking my second gold medal at the African Games. I am now relaxed to play in the singles as I am not familiar with some of the top players in this competition,” she said.
However, Xing, admitted that it was difficult playing African players. “I had many problems playing well in the team event because I was a bit nervous.
“But in the doubles, my partner really gave me confidence, while our coach was always urging us to go on. This really helped us and I am now gaining my confidence back. I hope I can reproduce the performance in the singles.
“I am looking forward to becoming the new champion of the African Games,” he said.
Team Nigeria won gold medal in men’s team event, while Egypt also won gold medal in the women’s team event.

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