By Temiloluwa Erinle
The representatives of University of Port Harcourt have made their institution proud by accumulating the most gold medals in the 26th edition of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) competition, hosted by the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and held from 16th to 27th March, 2022.
Out of highly coveted 192 gold medals awarded during the Games, UNIPORT’s athletes necked 61, along with 29 silver and 30 bronze medals — to finish at the top of the medals table with 120 shining medals, out of the 655 possible outcomes.
Proving dominance in athletics and swimming, they finished ahead of second-placed UNILAG—the host university—which had 33 gold medals along with 34 silver and 19 bronze medals. Indeed, this is a show of higher class over the rest of the 72 competing institutions.
However, the dominance of UNIPORT in university games competition is not only observed in the just concluded edition of NUGA.
Their impressive, mesmerising run of winning the biennial NUGA competition in the last 15 years is glaring — and scorchingly so.
UNIPORT has been on a run of seven consecutive overall wins of the NUGA competition.
In the 25th edition hosted by Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, in 2017, UNIPORT won a massive collection of 150 medals winning 70 gold, 47 silver and 33 bronze medals. Second-place Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria won just 11 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze medals to emerge a distant second.
In the 24th edition, hosted by Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, UNIPORT accumulated 120 medals, second-placed UNILAG being 83 medals away.
UNIPORT has grown into such a large indomitable force and not just in Nigeria.
They are repeating these same feats in the West African University Games (WAUG).
In the last edition of the West African University Games (WAUG), which UNIPORT hosted, they host emerged the overall winner of the competition after winning 75 gold, 36 silver and 24 bronze medals to top the tournament table with more than 5000 athletes from more than 60 universities across 16 West African nations.
According to the Vanguard Nigeria, UNIPORT finished the games on a remarkable note by winning all gold medals in swimming, hockey, chess, and taekwondo. University of Lagos came second with 16 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze medals.
Of greater note is the fact that they have been on a similar run of consecutive overall wins, having won the last 4 editions of WAUG.
University of Jos have won the bid to host the next edition of the NUGA Games in 2024.
With second-placed UNILAG finishing 46 medals away from the Captains of the Port in the 26th edition which amounts to a lower first-second gap compared to the 25th and 24th editions, competing universities might be finally ready to topple UNIPORT’s giant statue.