Next year’s Olympic Games will take place in Tokyo, Japan, and once the summer games come around, a certain 17-year-old Nigerian will be making history, though she’d have probably turned 18 by that time.
For the first time ever, Nigeria will be sending a female canoeist to the Olympic Games in the person of a starlet, Ayomide Bello, who defied the odds by qualifying for the competition.
Ayomide qualified for the international sports event after winning at the C1 200 event at Africa’s Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in Morocco. Her latest win comes just seven months after she saw off stiff competition to win Nigeria’s first gold medal at the Open International Canoe Sprint Competition in India.
Jonathan Akinyemi is the only other Nigerian canoeist to have competed in the Olympic Games. He made history in 2012 when he became the first Nigerian to ever compete in canoeing at the London games. He was also in action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
It sure looks like history-making season for Team Nigeria which also presented Africa’s first female bobsledding team, as well as Africa’s first skeleton racer, Simi Ageagbo, at last year’s Winter Olympic games.
Ayomide is from Osun State, South-West Nigeria. On Friday, August 30, she won her third gold medal in Canoeing for Nigeria at the Mohammed Ben Abdella Dam in Rabat.
The previous day, she secured had secured the top-most spot on on the podium when she beat a field of five others to win the gold in the C1 200m Women’s final. She later teamed up with Goodness Foloki to win another gold in C2 Women’s final.
The youngster will be hoping to give a good account of herself and hopefully earn some more laurels at the big stage in Tokyo next year. And it’s hard not to see her stealing the spotlight at the showpiece.
Featured Image Courtesy: Kate Green