3. Stephen Mozia
Breaking records is a tall order! So when breaking the National Record (NR) becomes like a pastime to an athlete who then ends the season among the Top 5 in the world, that athlete certainly deserves a worthy position on our list.
Mozia’s records aren’t just outdoors, but indoors as well. He broke the 21m mark when he threw a distance of 21.03m to set a new Indoor Nigerian Record, before bettering it twice to eventually end the indoor season with a Personal Best (PB) of 21.11m.
Going to the World Indoor Championships in Portland as one of the favourites for a medal, Mozia had a lukewarm outing, placing 12th overall after recording just one valid throw of 19.84m and making two fouls.
The 23-year old made up for this disappointment at the African Championships in Durban, winning two medals for the country. On Day 1 of the competition, he threw a distance of 19.84m in the Shot Put to place 3rd and win the country’s first medal at the Championships, before getting another Bronze medal in the Discus Throw with a distance of 59.16m.
Not done with his record breaking and medal winning form, Mozia set a new outdoor NR and Meeting Record (MR) of 20.82m to win at the Andujar Athletics meet in Andujar, Spain. Four days later, he erased this mark to set a superior life time best of 21.76m for another win at the Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic.
This mark is No. 4 in the world this year, ranks No. 2 on the all-time African list, and 4th all-time in Czech history, thereby stamping his name as the best Nigerian Shot Put thrower ever, and one of the best the Continent has ever produced.
However the University of Cornell graduate didn’t enjoy a good performance at his maiden outing at the Rio Olympics, as his only valid throw of 18.98m couldn’t get him out of the qualifying stage. Mozia has proven in 2016 that if he can only get it right on the big stage, he’s a world challenger anytime.