The victorious junior National Gymnastics team to the just concluded African Level 16 Championship at the High Performance Center in Pretoria, South Africa will return to the country on Tuesday after an impressive outing at the championship.
The Team Nigeria side won four gold, one silver and eight bronze medals to place 2nd behind the host nation, South Africa.
Over 1,900 gymnastics athletes from 30 countries participated at the keenly contested championship that was held between 21st and 26th of July 2016. Nigeria displaced countries like Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and others to share the podium behind South Africa.
You will recall that team Nigeria departed the shores of the country like Orphans and with the help of spirited Nigerians who willingly donated cash and other items to the young lads as the team was abandoned throughout the duration of championship by the nation’s sports ministry and the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria. However this did not discourage the lads from putting their best all through the competition.
Asemota Daniella, Mindy Akinbobore, Ememka Ekezie and Hariz Shehu won gold medal at level 4 and 5 level Aerobics gymnastic respectively, Efeoghene Agohgho won silver, Daniella Uzuegbu, Azeemah Shehu, Witheney Conffi Spiff, Arianna Gbemudu, Odelia Ajayi, Adi Saad, and Amaka Asemota won bronze medals each.
Coach Tony Asuquo the first and only gymnastics coach in Nigeria to be certified by the world gymnastics body also won a gold medal being the most outstanding coach of the championship.
Speaking from South Africa via telephone, Coach Tony Asuquo stated that championship was an eye opener for the team and he expects the sports ministry to build on the gains of the championship ahead of the next Olympics.
“Coming second behind South Africa was very massive for us despite the facts that no funds or sponsorship came our way before the championship,
“We could have done much better if we had better preparations but we only trained with minimal resources and I am so impressed by the performances of these kids.’’
Tony Asuquo also seized the opportunity to appeal to the sports ministry to host the team for doing the Nation proud in South Africa.