HISTORY OF GYMNASTICS IN NIGERIA


Gymnastics in Nigeria is as old as our culture. In different parts of Nigeria (Acrobatic) gymnastic are played days in days out, but it is more prominent in the former Mid-Western, Western region and the Eastern part Nigeria. In this part of Nigeria, gymnastics is incorporated into the traditional dances especially the igbabonelimi of the Ishans in Edo State.
However, Olympic gymnastics did not start in Nigeria until the year 1974 when some Chinese coaches invited by the federal government on an exchange programme through the then national sport Commission under Major general Henry Adefowope (rtd).
Sometimes in September 1974 the Chinese coaches visited some primary’s and secondary schools in lagos State to scout for talented young able bodied students between the ages of 9-12 years. About to hundred students were selected from the schools visited by the Chinese experts/coaches and were later assembled at the indoor sport hall of the National Stadium Surulere Lagos for training.
After about two months of rigorous training, the numbers of the young student were reduced from two hundred to ten boys to form the first national gymnastics team. Among these ten boys were Sadiq Momodu- the captain, Jimoh Sunmola the assistant, Akabon Aki, Ebong Okon, Ita Okon, Oladipo Olaosebikan, Fatai Ogunsola, Oluwatoba Ganiu.

In 1975 the National gymnastics association was formally inaugurated by the then National Sports Commision and the first chairman of the association was Late Professor Amos. T. Oduyale. While the first secretary was former Miss Yemisi Alalade and the first indigeneous coach was Mr. Ezekiel Adeoti. The first Chinese coachs names was Mr, Chin followed by Mr, Chang Lee and Mr. Suu. After the inauguration is awareness drive by taking the young gymnasts to the nooks and cranny of the country to demonstrate to the sporting public the arrival of a new game. These demonstrations were always during the national or international championships holding in any part of Nigeria or during the national sports festivals as non-scoring.
The development of the game
When gymnastics became accepted as scoring in the 5th All Africa Games in Cario Egypt in 1991, Nigeria was represented by a male and female team and they did Nigeria proud by winning 1 gold medal, 2 silver and 1 bronze to come 3rd position in the championship. Nigeria was represented by 2 gymnasts in the world individual gymnastics championship in Paris in the year 1992.
Nigeria also sent a team to the world championship Birmingham in Great Britain. In 1994, Nigeria sent a team of 4 boys to represent her in the commonwealth game her in the commonwealth game held in Victoria Canada.
How to Reference this article

Ademola, V. D (2019). History of gymnastics in Nigeria. Retrieved from https://www.youdread.com/2019/05/history-of-gymnastics-in-nigeria.html

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