Nigerian radio host brings her native language to sports commentary

IBADAN, Nigeria (Reuters) - Sports commentator Aderonke Adesola is not the voice most Nigerians expect to hear on the radio.

She is 25 years old, a woman and hosts her show in the local language Yoruba instead of English, which dominates most programming in Nigeria.

Adesola started her sports programme in 2019 on Splash FM, a popular radio station in the southwestern city of Ibadan that has over 3 million listeners.

"There is a high level of illiteracy in Nigeria, where some people don't understand what the commentator is saying in English," Adesola told Reuters.

"As a Yoruba commentator, my show comes to fill the gap."

Known on social media as Olori Sports (Olori means "queen" in Yoruba), Adesola commentates on local and international soccer matches as well as sports such as squash, cricket, golf and Formula One racing.

Her show is called Jawonsi, which means "Let them know".

"I really wish and hope to expand sports in Yoruba globally," said Adesola, who is not an athlete herself but loves soccer. When she is not in the studio, she is studying for a degree in mass communications.

Listeners say they like her show's humorous banter and wordplay.

On a recent evening in Ibadan, a group of men sat outside playing a board game and listening to Adesola's show on a handheld radio.

"Before, when the commentary was in English, only a few listened, but now everyone is interested because it is in a language we understand," said Suru Olayande, a welder.

(Reporting by Seun Sanni; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by William Mallard)

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