We look at the five women who excelled in sports in 2019.
Nigeria had some memorable moments in sports in 2019 that had women the stars of the show.
From football to athletes, some Nigerian female athletes stood out.
To round up the year, Pulse is curating a series of end of the year list to capture what surmise everything that happened in 2019.
For this list, we are looking at the top five female athletes of the year.
5. Asisat Oshoala (Football)
Five years after her emergence, Asisat Oshoala continues to be the face of women’s football if not sports in Nigeria. She had another good year in 2019 where she scored a goal as the Super Falcons of Nigeria reached the knockout stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
Her goal, which came in a 2-0 win over South Korea in the group stage was nominated for the Goal of the Tournament.
Oshoala also continued to excel in club football, joining Barcelona women’s team first one loan before signing a permanent deal. She also made history in 2019 by becoming the first African and Nigerian to score in the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
4. Odunayo Adekuoroye (Wrestling)
In Odunayo Adekuoroye, Nigeria has one of the best wrestlers in the world. Currently ranked number two in the 57kg women's freestyle, Adekuoroye kicked off 2019 by dominating at the African Wrestling Championships in Hammamet, Tunisia where she was named the most outstanding female wrestler in the competition.
She went on to represent Nigeria at the World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan, Turkey where she again excelled with a bronze medal and a ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo where she already a medal hopeful for Nigeria.
3. Chiamaka Nnadozie (Football)
2019 was Chiamaka Nnadozie’s year. After winning her first Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) medal in December 2018, Nnadozie became Super Falcons' first-choice goalkeeper after biding her time as a backup.
She was instrumental in the Super Falcons’ triumph at the WAFU Zone B Women’s Cup and made her World Cup debut.
Her debut at the World Cup was a standout moment as she became the youngest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at the World Cup following Nigeria’s 2-0 victory over Korea in the group stage.
After the World Cup, Nnadozie again helped the Falconets to a Gold medal at the African Games in Morocco saving three penalties in the shootout against Cameroon and rounded up the year by helping Rivers Angles to the Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL) title.
2. Ezinne Kalu (Basketball)
Nigeria’s senior women’s basketball team D’Tigress in 2019 won the Women’s AfroBasket title for a consecutive time.
The D’Tigress had a host of players who impressed at the tournament but it was Ezinne Kalu who was voted MVP of the tournament with an average of 13 points and three assists.
She led in points in three out of the five games Nigeria played in Dakar, Senegal. She also led the team in assists and steals as Nigeria won the title.
Evelyn Akhator deserves an honourable mention for her role in D’Tigress triumph but Kalu’s MVP status at the Women’s AfroBasket tourney gives her an edge and a place on this list.
1. Ese Brume (Long Jump)
In 2019, Nigeria got their first medal at the 2019 IAAF World Championship in six years, thanks to Ese Brume.
Brume won Nigeria’s only medal at the championships in Doha, Qatar following her third-place finish in women’s long jump which gave her a bronze medal.
Brume jumped a distance of 6.91m, her second-longest career jump to take home the bronze medal. She did well to finish behind pre-championship favourite Malaika Mihambo from German who leapt a distance of 7.30m and Ukrainian Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk who jumped a distance of 6.92m.
It is with this remarkable feat that makes her Pulse Sports Nigerian female athlete of the year.
The bronze medal at the World Championships wasn’t her only achievement in 2019. This year, she also won her first African Games medal to become the African Games champion in the Long Jump.