One of Nigeria’s greatest sprinters of all time, Chukwudi ‘Chidi’ Imoh, former Super Eagles team captain, Austin Okocha, Nigerian-born, New Zealand based Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Israel Adesanya and Sports journalist and pioneer owner of sports radio station in the country, Dr Larry Izamoje were among the 60 sports icons released in Abuja yesterday.
Chidi Imoh won an Olympic silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay at Barcelona ‘92 Olympics. He also won a silver medal in the 100 metres at the 1986 Goodwill Games, finished behind Ben Johnson and ahead of Carl Lewis.
Okocha was in the all-conquering Super Eagles squad that dazzled the world at USA ’94 FIFA World Cup as well as Atlanta ’96 Olympics.
On his part, Dr Izamoje pioneered specialised sports radio in the country when he launched his Brila FM radio station in Lagos in 2002. The station now has branches in Kaduna, Abuja and Onitsha.
Another media man that made the list is the legendry sportscaster, Ernest Okonkwo who died 30 years ago. He made commentaries on radio a delight in his lifetime.
The remaining icons comprise of the usual suspects. Members of the Super Eagles teams of 1980, 1994, Atlanta 1996 as well as track and Field and boxing dominated the list that was unveiled during the celebration of Nigeria’s most outstanding sports icons of the last sixty years.
The event took place at the Velodrome of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja yesterday.
According to a press release from the media aide to the Nigerian sports minister, the icons will have their pictures on display for 60 days.
According to the votes cast to pick the stars through various platforms, mercurial Super Eagles players like Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Garba Lawal, Emmanuel Amuneke of the famed 1994 and Atlanta 1996 Dream Team were selected by a wide spectrum of Nigerians.
Also selected are the 1980 Green Eagles that won Nigeria’s maiden Nations Cup on home soil with team captain Christian Chukwu and Segun Odegbami listed individually.
Emmanuel Okala and Mudashiru Lawal were also picked as symbols of the 1980 Green Eagles.
The Golden Eaglets of 1985 that paraded the likes of Nduka Ugbade, Victor Igbinoba and coached by Sebastian Brodricks – Imasuen were also recognised.
Nigerian first Olympics medallist Nojeem Maiyegun, first individual gold medallist, Chioma Ajunwa and Mary Onyali were listed.
Also on the list are legendary footballer, Tesilimi Balogun, Sunday Bada, Olawunmi Majekodunmi, Samuel Igun as well as world boxing champions Horgan Kid Bassey and Dick Tiger.
Most of the selected icons were either Olympic medalists or winners at the Commonwealth Games.