1. Ese Brume
Comeback stories make for great reading any day, so when an athlete bounces back in an Olympic year, and records an inspiring individual performance at the Olympics, such an athlete deserves to be at the summit of our list.
Brume made the world take notice of her talent in 2014 when she surprisingly won the Commonwealth Long Jump GOLD for the country, before going on to become African Champion. This paved way for her to be recognized as one of the best jumpers in the world, and a potential medallist at major championships in years to come.
However year 2015 was rather disappointing for the Champion as she was plagued with injuries which stopped her from qualifying for the World Championships in Beijing, and medalling at the African Games in Brazzaville, thereby raising questions as to whether her talent was a flash in the pan.
Notwithstanding, Brume proved doubters wrong by coming back stronger in 2016. One of her impressive performances was at the Akure Golden League where she set a Personal Best (PB) of 6.83m to qualify for the Olympics.
Her new personal record ranked her as the No. 1 female jumper in Africa ahead of the African Championships, and favorite to retain her title. She did this comfortably, leaping to a distance of 6.57m for the win.
At the Olympics, Brume churned out the best performance of her life, first jumping 6.67m for 3rd place in her qualifying group to proceed to the final where she leaped even higher with a distance of 6.81m to finish 5th overall on the standings.
The African Champion’s feat in Rio as the only Nigerian athlete to get to the final and finish in the Top 5 of her event, makes her the No.1 Nigerian Athlete in year 2016.
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