Blessing Oborodudu is among the 30 wrestlers picked for the African championship holding Port Harcourt between February 5 and 12.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Port Harcourt 2018 African Wrestling Championship has disclosed that the nation would be represented by 90 athletes at the competition scheduled to hold from February 5 to 12 at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre in the Garden City.
The LOC also revealed that more than 30 countries have applied to feature at the competition, which is being funded by the Rivers State government, Zenith Bank and Access Bank.
Speaking during a one-day retreat for journalists, President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, who is also a member of the LOC, disclosed that the country’s potential representatives are being prepared for the competition in camps in Rivers, Bayelsa and Ondo states, adding that the LOC was working round the clock to ensure that the country excelled at the event.
He added: “Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State is funding the preparation of the country’s athletes in the camps and we believe that at the end of the day we will have quality representatives capable of holding their own against Egypt and Algeria.
“In the women category, we are the queens of Africa and this time we want to win all the 10 gold medals in the category.
“Above all, we hope that the competition will catapult many of our athletes to international prominence because we have some top juniors eager to take on the world. I want to thank Governor Wike and also pledge that the wrestlers and the LOC will not disappoint him.”
Igali rates Egypt as the only country that could stop Nigeria from a clean sweep of the gold medals, adding that they have been training with Russian coaches who have made them very competitive.
Earlier, chairman of the LOC and Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, had revealed that the state government has provided the enabling environment for the wrestling federation to produce gold medalists for the country.
He said the state’s investment in sports was aimed at encouraging the country’s youths to build careers in the sector, adding that sports had the power to lure the restive youths away from crime.