‘Why Team Nigeria faltered in Budapest’

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One of the Nigerian wrestlers, Blessing Oborodudu (right), could not live up to expectations at Budapest 2018 World Wrestling Championship

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Daniel Igali, has given reasons for the unimpressive results recorded by Team Nigeria at the just- concluded World Wrestling Championship in Budapest, Hungary, though he expressed satisfaction with the performance of the athletes.

2017 world silver medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Commonwealth gold medalists, Blessing Oborodudu and Aminat Adeniyi, as well as Commonwealth silver medalist, Blessing Onyebuchi flew Nigeria’s flag at the world meet. They returned without a medal despite raising the hope of millions of Nigerians.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Igali stated that though the girls had a good preparation prior to the championships, but luck and officiating played a major role in their early exit from the championship.

“All the athletes did well in Budapest. They wrestled very well, just that the result did not go their way. Sometimes, you could give your best effort and not get the result you expected.

“Going for the World Wrestling Championship in Budapest, we had a silver medal and also wrestled for the bronze medal at the 2017 championships. But this year was a different story. Our effort at the competition might look retrogressive on account of what we achieved last term. One needs to be in Budapest to see how our wrestlers performed, but the outcome never favoured us as luck and even the officiating was against us,” he said.

Speaking further, the former world and Olympic wrestling champion said: “Our preparation for this year was much better than last year’s championship in terms of feeding, and the mindset. Russia is a super power virtually in every style of wrestling, even in the female class. At last year’s championship, their male’s wrestlers in the freestyle, who normally win up to three to four gold medals at every world championship did not win even a gold medal.

“And this is Russia that has a budget of over $10 million for wrestling every year. This goes to tell you that sometimes, outcomes of matches do not necessarily show the efforts a team put in while preparing for any major championship. That was exactly what happened to ours girls too.”

“However, that shouldn’t discourage us from continuing in our preparations because our athletes need to compete regularly at competitions for them to have the chance to showcase their talents. As I said, we have a good crop of athletes who can do well at the world stage on a good day.”