A group of young Nigerians often neglected and relegated to the background by society due to no fault of theirs, were in far away Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, writing the country's name in gold. Talk of the rejected stone becoming the chief cornerstone! The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games which took place from March 14-21, 2019 had 60 athletes and 24 officials representing the country at the multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
They did not disappoint as they competed in eight events (athletics, badminton, basketball, football, table tennis, volleyball, swimming and cycling) and returned with a total of 33 gold, 21 silver and 10 bronze medals.
A breakdown of the medals shows that they won 12 gold medals each in the unified football and volleyball events, four gold medals in athletics, two in badminton, one in cycling, one in dance and one in swimming.
They also had 10 silver medals in basketball, seven silver medals in badminton, three in table tennis and one in swimming.
Then five bronze medals in swimming, two in athletics, two in badminton and one in table tennis.
In athletics, Chima Maduakor (shot put), Nyam Hope Tayei (25m run), Ayokunle Akinjayeju (25m run) and Bello Damilola (100m) all won gold.
In the 50m freestyle swimming, Adedamola Roberts clinched gold while Joy Abisago won a gold medal in cycling.
Etim Florence and Sulaimon Nofisat won gold in the badminton girls' doubles and bronze in the girls' singles. Nyam Hope Tayei who won gold medal in athletics also clinched bronze in softball throw. Swimmers Treasure Chidi-Ofong (female 100m freestyle) and Teju Ogunlela (female 50m freestyle) won silver and bronze medals respectively.
In table tennis, although the trio of Arek Dickson, Adewoyin Bukola and Olusoji Oluwatomisin reached the finals but won silver medal instead of Gold as they lost to their opponents.
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Bassey Wisdom, another table tennis athlete, won bronze in the male singles event.