Nigeria finish on high as second African Beach Games ends

The 2nd African Beach Games took place in Hammamet, Tunisia and included participants from approximately 52 countries. 

As captured by the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Olympic Committee, Tony Nezianya, at the end of the event, Nigeria was placed 4th best on the overall medals ranking. 

The top three positions were secured by Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, respectively.

Only 23 countries of the 52 made it to the medals table, winning a total of 180 medals comprising 59 gold, 58 silver and 63 bronze medals. 

Nigeria secured a total of 12 medals, including 6 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze. These extraordinary achievements came from a variety of sports, showcasing the diverse capabilities of the Nigerian contingent.

In Air Badminton mixed Team event, Oluwadamilola Oyedepo,  Simeon Akinsola,  Kayode Samuel O and Zainab Momoh partnered to win a gold medal. 

In the Mixed doubles,  Oluwadamilola Oyedepo and Kayode claimed another gold medal. 

In the Women’s Triple event, Zainab Momoh, Sunday Chibuzo and Zainab Momoh tried hard but settled for a bronze medal.

The Men’s Triple comprising Habeeb Temitope, Simeon Akinsola and Kayode Samuel clinched the Silver medal.  

In Tecqball, Nigeria earned a gold and two silver medals.

Nigeria’s Beach Wrestling Team won the most medals -a whopping three gold as true champions.

In the 50 kg,  Mercy Genesis won a gold,  a feat also attained by two others Esther Kolawole,  60kg and highly skilled Blessing Oborodudu wrapped up with a 3rd gold in the 70kg weight class. 

The events were held in the Seaside resort of Hammamet, Tunisia spanning eight days from June 23 to June 30, 2023.

Nigeria entered 10 events but ended up winning all its eleven medals — six gold three silver and two bronze medals from five events.

The events were relatively new to many countries,  particularly some of the landlocked countries without access to the seas,  rivers or waters of any sort. 

But their relative performances have shown that virtually all teams were fast learners. 

While the Games come naturally to some countries, particularly the North African countries  – Egypt,  Tunisia,  Libya,  Morocco and Algeria. 

South Africa in Southern Africa is in league with North Africa’s high performance in Beach events,  being surrounded by Beaches.  

Even though Nigeria also has some of the best beaches in some major towns – Lagos,  Badagry,  Calabar, Eket,  Port Harcourt and Yanagoa as well as towns like Onitsha,  idah,  with Rivers where Beach Games can be developed but dogged by several other challenges.  

The challenges include developing beach sports physical planning and security concerns and the fact the average Nigerian does not think of leisure time. 

Good leisure times help productivity according to experts in the field of health and well-being.

And so it remains to be seen if authorities in sports and leisure business would come together to use sports to create a business around the beaches and invariably promote tourism. 

In the process, they would create jobs too.