The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) on Thursday unveiled a strong squad of athletes and officials that will represent the country at the 12th All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.
Team Nigeria wrestling squad comprises of 16 athletes, 5 coaches and 2 officials. The athletes were presented to the media at a colourful ceremony at the Dynamite Wrestling gym in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State – where the wrestlers have been training ahead of the Games for the past one month.
The NWF had earlier planned to present 26 athletes at the multi-sport tournament in Morocco, but the decision of the hosts to adopt the Olympic weight classes due to inadequate funding meant Nigeria will be fielding only 16 wrestlers.
Reigning Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Blessing Oborodudu (68kg) and Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) top the list in women wrestling, which also include African Champions Blessing Onyebuchi (76kg), Mercy Genesis (50kg) and Bose Samuel (53kg).
In the Freestyle event, 5-time African champion and captain of the team Amas Daniel (65kg) is joined by veteran and highly-decorated Sinivie Boltic (125kg), African champions Soso Tamrau (97kg), Melvin Bibo (86kg), Welson Ebikwenimo (57kg), as well as the very prolific Ogbonna John, a 3-time African champion himself.
Two-time African champion Emmanuel Nworie (77kg) tops the list of Greco Roman wrestlers, which also has two bronze medalists on the continent; Ikechukwu Robinson (60kg) and Tochukwu Okeke (87kg), as well as debutant Alfred Pakistan (67kg).
At the 2015 Games in Congo Brazzaville, wrestling accounted for 19 medals (9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze).
Team Nigeria wrestlers conquered Africa most recently at the All Africa Wrestling Championship in Portharcourt, Rivers State in 2018. The team will feature 4 wrestlers in Greco-Roman, 6 in Freestyle, and 6 in women’s wrestling.
The athletes and officials are expected to depart Nigeria for Morocco on Wednesday, 21st August.