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Nigerian women have had to deal with gender inequality in almost every area of their lives, but the country’s sportswomen have again proven that they can be counted amongst the best, with amazing displays in recent global sporting events, writes JOHNNY EDWARD
Nigerian sports have been in the news in recent weeks, and fortunately, this time, for the right reasons.
Last month, hurdler, Tobi Amusan, stunned the world when she shattered the women’s 100m hurdles world record in 12.12secs at the World Championships in Oregon USA, sending the erstwhile record held by American Kendra Harrison (12.20secs) to the cleaners, on her way to becoming the first ever Nigerian world champion, after almost four decades of trying.

Brume

Ever consistent long jumper Ese Brume also snatched a silver medal in her event, as Team Nigeria put up their best ever performance at the event, since they first competed at the global sports showpiece in 1983.
Again at the just-ended Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Team Nigeria put up their best outing ever, snatching a record 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals to erase their previous best performance at the Games — 11 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze medals — in 1994 in Victoria, Canada.
However, one interesting angle to the recent good news has been the dominance of the female athletes, who took the shine off their male counterparts with their amazing feats.
In Birmingham, all the 12 gold medals were won by women, several of whom also smashed various Games and world records on their way to glory, as the men took the back seat, managing just three silver and six bronze medals out of a total haul of 35 medals.

After her heroics at the World Championships in Oregon, Amusan was not done yet, as she set a new Games record in Birmingham in the hurdles event, alongside retaining the gold medal she won at the last edition of the Games in Gold Coast, Australia four years ago.
She also powered the 4x100m women’s relay team to their first ever gold medal at the event, erasing the African record on their way to glory.
The 25-year-old is the current African, Commonwealth and world champion in the 100m hurdles as well as the record holder in the three competitions.
Brume, who won her first Commonwealth Games title in 2014, was absent from the Gold Coast, Australia four years ago to defend her title.
This time around, with a World Athletics Championships silver already secured, Brume returned to the Commonwealth Games with the aim to retain her title and she did it in grand style, breaking the 6.97m Games record held by Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson twice.
She began her journey to the top of the podium with a foul but returned with a huge 6.99m leap to set a new Games record, becoming the second Nigerian woman to win the long jump gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, after Modupe Oshikoya first won it in 1974.
Two throws, two world records and a gold medal — this summed up the amazing story of para-discus thrower Goodness Nwachukwu.

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Before the trip to Birmingham, the 23-year-old, Nigeria’s sole competitor in the Women’s Discus Throw F42-44/61-64 event, was the F42 world record holder with 33.35m, but at the Games, she improved on that distance with her first throw of 34.84m, which she further improved upon with a throw of 36.56m.
Another discus thrower, Chioma Onyekwere, also clinched a historic gold medal with a seasonal best throw of 61.70m.

Onyekwere

The 28-year-old’s feat saw her become the first Nigerian athlete to win gold in the discus event after 32 years at the Games. Adewale Olukoju had won gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games with a throw of 62.62m.
The ladies’ feat made Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs, hail the athletes, saying their performance was a confirmation that the future of Nigeria “lies in the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian woman.”
“There is indeed a need to celebrate Nigerian women and girls, as they continue to redefine Nigeria in the eyes of the world,” Tallen said in a statement.
“It is heartwarming to know that Team Nigeria won 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals, with the women carting away most of the medals in all categories. Nigerian women and girls are indeed very proud of you.
“As a mother would not allow her home to crumble in any ailing situation, the young women on the Team Nigeria to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have risen to the challenge of changing the narratives for the image of Nigeria for the best, by hurling in gold medals to place Nigeria on the global arena as the best African Team in the competition.”

In other sporting events, women also hold the aces.
In football, despite failing to win their 10th Women’s African Cup of Nations title in Morocco in July, perennial African champions Super Falcons qualified for the women’s World Cup, a feat their male counterparts could not achieve over two legs against their West African rivals Ghana.
The Falcons are the continent’s most successful national side with nine titles and remain the only African team to have played at all eight Women’s World Cup finals.
On the domestic scene, they’ve also excelled, one of the most recent cases being that of Bayelsa swimmer Ifiaezibe Gagbe, the undisputed star of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, where she won 15 medals.
Also at the festival, eight months pregnant Taekwondo athlete Aminat Idrees won the first gold for Team Lagos. She also claimed silver in the female team Poomsae category and an individual bronze in the same category.
The following month after her heroics, May 21, 2021 precisely, Idrees gave birth to a baby girl at the Surulere General Hospital, Lagos.
Despite their consistent success, Nigeria’s sportswomen often lack the recognition, treatment and reward that men get in sports.

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Footballer Desire Oparanozie was stripped of her captaincy and banished from the Super Falcons after a row with officials over bonuses and allowances for the team.
Oparanozie also demanded that Nigeria’s women’s teams be paid the same as their male counterparts.
Despite being Africa’s most successful women’s team, the Falcons receive $3,000 for a win and $1,500 for a draw at major tournaments, while the men’s team receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for the same results.
“We are the most successful female team in Africa, yet we have the largest disparities between men and women’s pay,” Oparanozie had stated.
“I think we deserve equal pay. This big gap tells a different story and a proper rethink of this mode of payment could also help the women’s game.”
On what motivates Nigerian sportswomen, Chairperson, Nigeria Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode, who has worked assiduously to ensure the growth of the women’s game in the country, told our correspondent that the glaring gender inequality has spurred them to success.
“The inequality in gender is a big motivation for the women and that’s why you see them eager to succeed always,” Falode told Saturday PUNCH.

“Personally, I think that motivates them a lot to achieve success, as they did at the Commonwealth Games.
“Most times they don’t usually get the support needed because of so many factors, so any opportunity they get they often utilise it. They put more work into what they do and they get the results.
“Most of the women that represented us at the Games are very talented and they showed more commitment and zeal to win.”
Table tennis star, Bose Odusanya, shares same view with Falode.
“The fact that every woman doesn’t want to be seen as a failure makes them struggle harder to succeed and I believe that is the result we are seeing now.”
Former Super Falcons star, Maureen Mmadu, believes that women are more consistent than men.
“At the Games in Birmingham, the women showed a lot of consistency,” Mmadu said.

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“Women are strong and we are driven by the fact that most men see us as wimps, but we do things they do in sports. Our women have reached great athletic heights. Look at Tobi Amusan, a world champion and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the space of two weeks. Other female athletes also made us proud there too.”
With the women’s recent performance at the Games in Birmingham, the call for equal pay with their male counterparts may have just been justified.
Falode believes the successes will change the narrative.
“The conversation has already started,” she said. “We want equal investment and rewards in women’s sports.
“We have to look at the reward for women, which puts them at a disadvantage. We have seen that the women put in more work into what they do and they get the results. It is what they bring in that they should also get.
“There must be equity, they should not be given less in terms of the reward of what they put in.”
Mmadu added, “Asisat Oshoala has won the African Player of The Year a record five times. Women should be recognised for their contributions and feel the same sense of pride male athletes feel.

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“Fighting for equal rights in sports at all levels is an ongoing issue, and it is a battle that athletes will have to continue to fight and win.”
Edo State is the first state in Nigeria to adopt the equal pay policy for its men and women’s football clubs Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens.

Last November, the state’s Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, while addressing questions on why the state took the decision, said, “There will be no gender discrimination among them in terms of welfare, in terms of salary.
“At the end of the day, we will discover that Edo Queens will be the highest paid female team in Nigeria. That is what we want to achieve.
“We are putting both teams on the same scale.
“The male team had not been able to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for over 12 years, but Edo Queens had been in the semi-finals for the past four years.”
Also, Tallen insisted it was time Nigerian women were better appreciated and given the chance to contribute to nation building.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

She said, “If they can do it in sports, they can also bring about a robust and strategic approach in addressing the challenges of the Nigerian State. Women, I should say, hold the ace and must be given the opportunity to showcase their potential.”
Two throws, two world records and a gold medal — this summed up the amazing story of para-discus thrower Goodness Nwachukwu.
Before the trip to Birmingham, the 23-year-old, Nigeria’s sole competitor in the Women’s Discus Throw F42-44/61-64 event, was the F42 world record holder with 33.35m, but at the Games, she improved on that distance with her first throw of 34.84m, which she further improved upon with a throw of 36.56m.
Another discus thrower, Chioma Onyekwere, also clinched a historic gold medal with a seasonal best throw of 61.70m.
The 28-year-old’s feat saw her become the first Nigerian athlete to win gold in the discus event after 32 years at the Games. Adewale Olukoju had won gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games with a throw of 62.62m.
The ladies’ feat made Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs, hail the athletes, saying their performance was a confirmation that the future of Nigeria “lies in the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian woman.”
“There is indeed a need to celebrate Nigerian women and girls, as they continue to redefine Nigeria in the eyes of the world,” Tallen said in a statement.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Amusan

“It is heartwarming to know that Team Nigeria won 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals, with the women carting away most of the medals in all categories. Nigerian women and girls are indeed very proud of you.
“As a mother would not allow her home to crumble in any ailing situation, the young women on the Team Nigeria to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have risen to the challenge of changing the narratives for the image of Nigeria for the best, by hurling in gold medals to place Nigeria on the global arena as the best African Team in the competition.”
In other sporting events, women also hold the aces.
In football, despite failing to win their 10th Women’s African Cup of Nations title in Morocco in July, perennial African champions Super Falcons qualified for the women’s World Cup, a feat their male counterparts could not achieve over two legs against their West African rivals Ghana.
The Falcons are the continent’s most successful national side with nine titles and remain the only African team to have played at all eight Women’s World Cup finals.
On the domestic scene, they’ve also excelled, one of the most recent cases being that of Bayelsa swimmer Ifiaezibe Gagbe, the undisputed star of the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival, where she won 15 medals.
Also at the festival, eight months pregnant Taekwondo athlete Aminat Idrees won the first gold for Team Lagos. She also claimed silver in the female team Poomsae category and an individual bronze in the same category.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The following month after her heroics, May 21, 2021 precisely, Idrees gave birth to a baby girl at the Surulere General Hospital, Lagos.
Despite their consistent success, Nigeria’s sportswomen often lack the recognition, treatment and reward that men get in sports.
Footballer Desire Oparanozie was stripped of her captaincy and banished from the Super Falcons after a row with officials over bonuses and allowances for the team.
Oparanozie also demanded that Nigeria’s women’s teams be paid the same as their male counterparts.
Despite being Africa’s most successful women’s team, the Falcons receive $3,000 for a win and $1,500 for a draw at major tournaments, while the men’s team receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for the same results.
“We are the most successful female team in Africa, yet we have the largest disparities between men and women’s pay,” Oparanozie had stated.
“I think we deserve equal pay. This big gap tells a different story and a proper rethink of this mode of payment could also help the women’s game.”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

On what motivates Nigerian sportswomen, Chairperson, Nigeria Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode, who has worked assiduously to ensure the growth of the women’s game in the country, told our correspondent that the glaring gender inequality has spurred them to success.
“The inequality in gender is a big motivation for the women and that’s why you see them eager to succeed always,” Falode told Saturday PUNCH.
“Personally, I think that motivates them a lot to achieve success, as they did at the Commonwealth Games.
“Most times they don’t usually get the support needed because of so many factors, so any opportunity they get they often utilise it. They put more work into what they do and they get the results.
“Most of the women that represented us at the Games are very talented and they showed more commitment and zeal to win.”
Table tennis star, Bose Odusanya, shares same view with Falode.
“The fact that every woman doesn’t want to be seen as a failure makes them struggle harder to succeed and I believe that is the result we are seeing now.”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Former Super Falcons star, Maureen Mmadu, believes that women are more consistent than men.
“At the Games in Birmingham, the women showed a lot of consistency,” Mmadu said.
“Women are strong and we are driven by the fact that most men see us as wimps, but we do things they do in sports. Our women have reached great athletic heights. Look at Tobi Amusan, a world champion and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the space of two weeks. Other female athletes also made us proud there too.”
With the women’s recent performance at the Games in Birmingham, the call for equal pay with their male counterparts may have just been justified.
Falode believes the successes will change the narrative.
“The conversation has already started,” she said. “We want equal investment and rewards in women’s sports.
“We have to look at the reward for women, which puts them at a disadvantage. We have seen that the women put in more work into what they do and they get the results. It is what they bring in that they should also get.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“There must be equity, they should not be given less in terms of the reward of what they put in.”
Mmadu added, “Asisat Oshoala has won the African Player of The Year a record five times. Women should be recognised for their contributions and feel the same sense of pride male athletes feel.
“Fighting for equal rights in sports at all levels is an ongoing issue, and it is a battle that athletes will have to continue to fight and win.”
Edo State is the first state in Nigeria to adopt the equal pay policy for its men and women’s football clubs Bendel Insurance and Edo Queens.
Last November, the state’s Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, while addressing questions on why the state took the decision, said, “There will be no gender discrimination among them in terms of welfare, in terms of salary.
“At the end of the day, we will discover that Edo Queens will be the highest paid female team in Nigeria. That is what we want to achieve.
“We are putting both teams on the same scale.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“The male team had not been able to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for over 12 years, but Edo Queens had been in the semi-finals for the past four years.”
Also, Tallen insisted it was time Nigerian women were better appreciated and given the chance to contribute to nation building.
She said, “If they can do it in sports, they can also bring about a robust and strategic approach in addressing the challenges of the Nigerian State. Women, I should say, hold the ace and must be given the opportunity to showcase their potential.”

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