Reigning Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Oborududu will Today night depart Nigeria for Istanbul, Turkey ahead of the prestigious Yasar Dogu Ranking Series event which runs from 11th to 14th July, 2019.
The pair, who recently retained their respective national titles at the 3rd Gov. Dickson Wrestling Classics in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, will be guided by experienced women’s head coach, Purity Akuh.
The 4-day tournament will have in attendance over 150 female wrestlers from 20 countries around the globe, who will be vying for crucial ranking points ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan in September.
Adekuoroye, a World silver-medallist in 2017, will be competing in the 57kg weight class, while 9-time African champion Oborududu will battle for ranking points in her usual 68kg category at the tournament.
Nigeria’s Aminat Adenyi (62kg), a two-time Commonwealth champion herself, who is also listed for the Yasar Dogu event will miss the trip due to visa issues.
The contingent will depart the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos via a Turkish Airline flight by 8:50pm on Tuesday night, and arrive Istanbul by 5:30am the next day (Wednesday).
Wrestling sensation Odunayo Adekuoroye has challenged her opponents in the 57kg category in Nigeria to raise their game in order to give her credible competition.
The 2017 World silver medalist from Ondo State, retained her national title in the 57kg class at the just-concluded 3rd Governor Dickson National Classics in Yenagoa, dispatching Patience Kakanda of Team Bayelsa via pinfall in less than 40 seconds.
In fact, no athlete on the domestic scene has scored a point against the back-to-back Commonwealth champion in four years, a situation she attributes to hardwork, urging her opponents to work even harder to be able to stand toe-to-toe with her.
“I think for this competition I don’t think I have any opponent,” the 5-time African champion said. “My advice to my opponents is for them to train more, it’s not a day’s job because I have worked for it.
“And for you to come and defeat me, you need to do more than I do.”
The 25-year-old star, who was voted the 2018 Wrestler of the Year by the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, is expected to also fly the country’s flag at next month’s African Games in Rabat, Morocco, as she hopes to add more laurels to an already decorated cabinet.
The board of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) has unanimously passed a vote of confidence on its president, Hon. Daniel Igali, who is in the middle of his second four-year term in office.
In a meeting on the sidelines of the just-concluded 3rd Gov. Dickson National Wrestling Classics in Yenagoa, the board members gave the Olympic and World champion the nod following his outstanding result-oriented leadership of the federation.
The board members noted that aside producing great results at both international and global competitions, wrestling in Nigeria has experienced tremendous development under Igali’s watch.
Speaking on behalf of the board, Chris Amkpila said the members decided to give Igali, who is also a vice president of the Commonwealth Wrestling Board, the endorsement because he has virtually fulfilled all the campaign promises he made halfway into his second tenure.
“We passed a vote of confidence on him because he is one person that has delivered on all his promises. He became the president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation on the fulcrum of the fact that he is going to develop the sport. And we have seen the moves; he’s been developing this sport from the grassroot even to the upper level,” Ampkila, who represents the North-Central zone on the board, said.
“For us granting him this vote of confidence this period, we also discovered that he sponsored a lot of states that could not come (for the 3rd Gov. Dickson National Wrestling Classics) , he sponsored them. He personally took it upon himself because of the love he has for wrestling. So, he brought these people to come and compete here (Yenagoa).
“And he has done a whole lot of things that made us know that this man is ready to develop this sport.
“Whether we are ready to move with him or not, he is moving forward. And thank God everybody in the board is moving with him.”
In 2018, the former member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly used his international relationship and network to attract the hosting of the African Senior Wrestling Championships to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the first time the continental flagship tournament was hosted in Nigeria and in sub-Saharan Africa.
Under his leadership, Nigeria have won multiple gold, silver and bronze medals at the African Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, All Africa Games, with the likes of Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborududu, Aminat Adeniyi, Amas Daniel now global wrestling icons.
During his first term in office in 2015, Hon. Igali singlehandedly built the ultra-modern Dynamite Wrestling gym, where athletes from the National team and Bayelsa State, till this day, train in preparation for major tournaments within and outside Nigeria.
Ondo State’s Bose Samuel reclaimed her national title in emphatic fashion on Thursday at the ongoing 3rd Gov. Dickson National Wrestling Classics in Yenagoa.
In the final of the Women’s 53kg, the 2018 African champion, who was dethroned by Rosemary Nweke at the National Sports Festival last December in Abuja, outclassed Ozioma Joseph from Delta State 10-0 via technical superiority to claim the gold medal on offer before a cheering crowd that had Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, who was represented by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Tonye Isenah.
“I am very happy. Firstly, I thank God Almighty for what He has done in my life. I am very happy for winning the gold medal,” Bose said.
Regarding her preparation she added: “I prepared very well because at the National Sports Festival I won bronze medal. So, I was not happy at all, I had to go back home to go and prepare for this competition.”
In the two Freestyle finals decided on Thursday, Victor Firstman of Delta State overcame Stephen Akintene from Purity Club 6-4 in the 61kg class in a keenly contested finale, while Daufa Robert of Bayelsa State beat Omega Bassey of Oyo State to clinch gold in the 92kg category.
Meanwhile, in the Greco Roman events, Nnalue Dominic of Team Delta impressively took out Akiniwesi Boluwaji of Ondo State 11-0 via technical superiority in the 55kg weight class. And in the final of the 87kg category, Tobechukwu Udeh of Nigeria Army dismantled Emmanuel Duk of Cross River State 17-7 to claim his second national title.
“The Nigeria Army tried for us in getting us prepare for this competition,” Udeh said after his victory.
He also disclosed that he had a tougher challenge in the earlier rounds than in the final.
“It was not the fight that I thought will give me problem. My first fight was more difficult. But anyways, it came easy like that.
I thank God for this final, it ended 17-7.”
Following their victories, Bose, Daufa, Firstman, Udeh and Nnalue have all qualified to represent Nigeria at the 12th All-African Games in Rabat, Morocco in August.
The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) has extended the ongoing 3rd Governor Dickson National Wrestling Classics in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, by two days, according to the president of the body, Hon. Daniel Igali.
The competition earlier scheduled to end on 30th June, will now be concluded on 2nd July.
In a chat with journalists on Tuesday, the Olympic and World champion disclosed that the extension is at the instance of the sponsor of the competition, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.
“The Governor wants to be personally at the finals of the Governor Seriake National Wrestling Classics. He understands the importance of this tournament, does not want to send a representative and has very important functions on the 29th and 30th (June) which is Saturday and Sunday,” the NWF boss explained.
“So, he essentially pleaded with the Nigeria Wrestling Federation for us to extend it by two days because he wants to be personally there at the finals. And of course, he who pays the piper (dictates the tune), you know what they say.
“The board of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation has met; we’ve also met with stakeholders of the teams and agreed that it is worth doing, it’s worthwhile.”
Hon. Igali, who is also the vice president of Commonwealth Wrestling Board, equally informed that Governor Dickson has agreed to foot the extra bills that will be incurred by the various teams as a result of the extension.
“The Governor has also promised that whatever expenses are involved with the shift, will be borne by the State Government.”
About 20 states and 16 wrestling clubs across the country are expected to participate in the 3rd Gov. Dickson National Classics, which serves as qualifiers for both the 12th All-Africa Games in Morocco and the World Championships in Kazakhstan later this year.
The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) has expressed deep shock and regret following the demise of Coach John Edem, who died after a protracted illness on 24th May, 2019.
Until his death, late Edem was the head coach of the Cross River State Greco Roman team.
A dedicated athlete in his heydays, coach Edem won 4 national titles in the junior/intermediate class and 2 senior crowns in the 48kg category in the eighties.
Aside discovering several young athletes as a coach, late John Edem also trained former African Champion Emmanuel Nworie.
Speaking on behalf of the federation, Technical Director of NWF, Sir Damian Ohaike said: “We received the news of his death with deep shock.
“Coach Edem was very dedicated to the discovery and development of young talents. It’s a pity that he is no more. We will dearly miss him.
“I pray that God will grant his family and the entire sporting fraternity in Cross River State the fortitude to bear his loss.”
A devout Christian, Edem was married with children, and has since been buried in his hometown in Akpabuyo Local Government Area in Cross River State.
As a mark of honour for late John Edem, the Nigeria Wrestling Federation have agreed to observe a minute silence before the commencement of the 3rd Governor Dickson National Classics in Yenagoa later this month.
The Bayelsa State Government has commenced the construction of a stand-alone world-class wrestling gym at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa.
The facility, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year, will be the first of its kind in Nigeria.
The gym is projected to accommodate two full-sized wrestling mats, a warm-up area, and office spaces for administrative work.
The construction of the ultra-modern gym is in line with the vision of Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson to make Yenagoa – the State capital – the hub of wrestling, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa at large. Governor Dickson has previously promised to institutionalise wrestling as a core sport and a cultural heritage of the Ijaw man.
Meanwhile, an elated President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Hon. Daniel Igali has hailed Gov. Dickson for the historic construction of the wrestling gymnasium.
“I am not surprised that the Governor has commenced the construction of a wrestling gym of world class standard in Yenagoa,” the Olympic champion said. “The gym will not only help Bayelsa State athletes, but will have a very positive bearing on the national team.
“Having athletes from five to six sports training in one multi-purpose hall as is the current situation all over the country impacts on concentration and adversely affects both training and ultimately performance. By the construction of this wrestling gym, wrestling mats will have more durability, while athletes and coaches will be able to train in an atmosphere that will promote professionalism in our sport.
“I congratulate Gov. Dickson and Bayelsa State Government for setting the pace in wrestling infrastructure in Nigeria. Our hope is that the gym will be completed in record time to aid our athletes in preparing for the Olympics next year,” the NWF boss concluded.