Pulse List 2016 Top 10 Nigerian sports persons of the year

Included in this list are Nigerian sportspersons (in no particular order) who were the most popular, successful and influential.

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Paralympic Games play Nigeria’s Paralympic Team won 12 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics (NAN)
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As we round up 2016, we look at Nigerian sportspersons who made the country proud in the course of the year.

Included in this list are Nigerian sportspersons (in no particular order) who were the most popular, successful and influential.

1. Nigeria’s Paralympic Team (Rio 2016 Olympics)

It is unfair but not out of disrespect to round up Nigeria’s Paralympic Team to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Team Nigeria were impressive at the Paralympic Games, winning 12 medals- 8 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze- to finish 17th in the medals table, the top-ranked African country. So if we decide to mention all the special athletes who won medals for Nigeria, the names would not fit into the list.

Ezuruike Roland, Kehinde Paul, Ejike Lucy, Onye Lauritta, Nwosu Ndidi, Omolayo Bose, Ugwunwa Flora, and Orji Josephine (all gold winners), Tijani Latifat and Oyema Esther (silver winners) Innocent Nnamdi and Iyiazi Eucharia (bronze winners).

For that case, the Nigeria’s Paralympic Team are the number one on this list. The special athletes made the country proud and deserve all our praises.

2. Victor Moses (Football)

Victor Moses play Victor Moses (NFF)

 

After a series of unsuccessful loan moves, Victor Moses was finally given a chance at Chelsea by new manager Antonio Conte. The forward is now thriving in his wing-back role for Chelsea and has become a very important figure for the Premier League leaders.

Moses also returned to the Super Eagles and netted a brace as Nigeria beat Algeria in a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in November.

3. Kelechi Iheanacho (Football)

Kelechi Iheanacho play Kelechi Iheanacho (NFF)

 

Kelechi Iheanacho had a tremendous 2016 after breaking into the Manchester City senior side the previous year. Iheanacho scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances for City last season. Under Pep Guardiola, the striker has been given a new deal and has also impressed with three league goals in 10 games.

For the Super Eagles, the 20-year-old has also become a pivotal part of the team, scoring two goals in their last three games.

4. Alex Iwobi (Football)

Alex Iwobi play Alex Iwobi (Icon Sport via Getty Images)

 

It has been an unreal year for Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi who became a full Nigeria international in 2016. Iwobi was last year promoted to the Arsenal senior team and has continued to impress in 2016.

He scored his first competitive goal for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in their October 2-1 win over Zambia in a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

5. Olufunke Oshonaike (Tennis)

Olufunke Oshonaike play Olufunke Oshonaike (Getty Images)

 

Veteran tennis player Olufunke Oshonaike makes the list for winning the African women’s single Table Tennis title.

The 42-year-old, who last won the coveted African title 16 years ago, overpowered her Egyptian opponent to win Nigeria a title at the African Championships in Morocco.

She, however, did not have a fantastic outing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games crashing out of the first round of women’s Table Tennis Singles.

6. Aruna Quadri (Tennis)

Aruna Quadri play Aruna Quadri (Twitter)

 

It was remarkable 2016 for Aruna Quadri who was impressive in Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Quadri beat fifth-seeded player Chih-Yuan Chuang in the third round and German Boll Timo in the fourth to make it to the quarter-finals where he lost to world number one, Long Ma.

The 28-year-old won gold at 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Morroco with his partner Segun Toriola in the Men's Doubles.

In the last ITTF ranking, he rose from 40th to 25th released by ITTF on Tuesday, September 6.

With this rise, he becomes the first African tennis player to be in the top 25.

7. John Mikel Obi (Football)

John Mikel Obi celebrates his goal play John Mikel Obi (Goal)

 

Super Eagles midfielder John Mikel Obi remains the most popular active Nigerian footballer. In 2016 Mikel Obi captained Nigeria’s Dream Team VI to bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

He was also the captain of Team Nigeria to the games.

The midfielder was named the captain of the Super Eagles in 2016 and is on the verge of taking the team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

8. Asisat Oshoala (Football)

Asisat Oshoala play Asisat Oshoala (Twitter/Asisat Oshoala)

 

Asisat Oshola remains the face of Women’s football in Nigeria and also had a huge year in 2016 starting with his big transfer from Liverpool Ladies to Arsenal Ladies.

Oshoala won two titles in 2016, the Women’s FA Cup with Arsenal Ladies and the Africa Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

She ends the year with a nomination in the CAF Women's Player of the Year category of the 2016 GOL-CAF awards.

9. Chierika Ukogu (Rowing)

Chierika Ukogu play Chierika Ukogu (NAN)

 

Chierika Ukogu has to make this list after representing Nigeria in the Women’s Singles Sculls event at Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Ukogu, who is the first Nigerian to represent the country in rowing, is a graduate of Stanford University and trained with the US team before the Olympics.

The 24-year-old impressed at the Olympics, finishing second in Final D of Women’s Singles Sculls event.

Sadly that didn’t give her a medal as her time of finish 7:44.76 meant she finished 20th in the overall final result.

10. Segun Toriola (Tennis)

Segun Toriola play Segun Toriola (Twitter)

 

Nigerian veteran tennis star Segun Toriola made history in 2016 as the first African athlete to appear in seven Olympic Games.

He was honoured by the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) for that feat.

In 2016, he also won gold in old at 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships in Morroco with his partner Aruna Quadri in the Men's Doubles.

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