Can Big Brother Nigeria Pepper Dem star, Mike Edwards become the first Nigerian man in 56 years to make the high jump podium at the Commonwealth Games?
The 32-year-old will have the opportunity on Wednesday when the high jump final has been scheduled to take place at the Alexander Stadium.
The event produced Nigeria’s first medalist in the history of the Games when Joshia Majekodunmi cleared 1.96m to win the silver medal behind Australia’s John Winter who cleared 2cm higher to win the gold and set a new Games record.
That was at the 1950 Games in Auckland, New Zealand where Nigeria made her debut at the Games.
The high jump also provided Nigeria’s first gold medalist at the Games courtesy Emmanuel Ifeajuna who cleared a new 2.03m games record to succeed Winter as Commonwealth Games champion four years later in Vancouver, Canada.
Samuel Igun also picked a silver medal in the event in 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica and that marked the end of Nigeria’s glorious run in the event.
Edwards, who won Nigeria’s first high jump medal, a silver, at the African Championships last June in Mauritius could be hoping for another miracle to land him on the podium in Birmingham.
Like it was in Mauritius, Edwards is coming in as the overwhelming underdog albeit he cleared 2.20m at the Nigerian championships in Benin in June to ensure he has hit the 2.20m mark or more for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Edwards knows a repeat of his 2.25m personal best he cleared seven years ago could land him a place at the podium and betting against the high jumper could prove a mistake as it happened in Mauritius where he narrowly missed out on the gold medal on countback after he cleared 2.15m, same height as Algeria’s Hichem Bouhanoun who won the gold medal.
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By Dare Esan in Birmingham