By Daniel Edu
In an impressive display of talent and determination, three Nigerian boxers have earned their tickets to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Their victories came in the finals of the Africa Olympic Boxing qualifiers held in Dakar, Senegal.
Nine Nigerian boxers initially competed at the qualifiers, with eight advancing to the quarter-finals and six progressing to the semi-finals. Ultimately, three of them secured their spots at the Olympics by claiming gold medals in their respective categories.
1. **Cynthia Ogunsemilore (Women’s 60kg):** Ogunsemilore started the journey to glory by facing off against Algeria’s Khelif Hadjila. With an impressive display of skill and determination, she secured a unanimous decision victory (5-0), clinching the first gold medal for Nigeria in the competition.
2. **Joshua Omole (Men’s 57kg):** Following Ogunsemilore’s success, Joshua Omole took the ring against Ethiopia’s Leta Yadesa in the Men’s 57kg category. Omole exhibited unwavering determination and secured a unanimous decision victory (5-0), earning himself the featherweight gold medal.
3. **Adam Olaore (Men’s 92kg):** In the final showdown, Adam Olaore faced Algeria’s Houmri Mohamed in the Men’s 92kg category. The battle was intense, but Olaore’s determination shone through as he secured a split decision win (4-1), becoming a 2-time African Champion and securing his place as the third Nigerian boxer to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
In total, Team Nigeria claimed six medals at the tournament, including three gold medals by the winners in the finals and three bronze medals by other participants. Adeola Oyesiji won bronze in the flyweight category, Nene Ojo in the featherweight, and Patricia Mbata in the middleweight.
The Nigerian boxers were accompanied by two coaches, Anthony Konyegwachie, a former Olympian, and Adura Olalehin. These achievements mark a significant milestone for Nigerian boxing, and the athletes aim to bring home the nation’s first boxing Olympic medals since 1996 when Duncan Dokiwari secured a bronze medal in the super heavyweight division.