Ondo State athletes representing Nigeria on Wednesday recorded a good start in the Africa Wrestling Championship which started at the Alfred Diette Spiff Events Centre, Port Harcourt.
The cadet events that started on Wednesday saw Ondo’s Esther Kolawole winning gold in the freestyle event while Christiana Ogunsanya and Mercy Adekuoroye qualified for the semifinal stage of their respective events.
Mercy, the younger sister of Odunayo Adekuoroye, is tipped to also win gold in the AWC event. However, Sunmisola Balogun, another Ondo wrestler won two bouts to qualify for the final in her cadet event. She defeated her Moroccan opponent, Taibi C. 10-0 on technical superiority
Ondo State coach, Purity Akuh, told journalists that he was impressed with the good start recorded by the state’s athletes and Nigeria at the championship.
Akuh said: “This is a big stage, some of the wresters are young and jittery but somehow they have generally done well.
“We expect the country will do well in the junior event and the senior level in the days ahead of this big championship.”
The male cadet wrestlers are expected to be in action from today (Thursday) while the seniors will take to the mats on February 10 and 11 respectively.
However, the hosts have been largely dominated by their North African counterparts especially in the Greco-Roman category. Also Peter Ukoro (55kg) is through to the semifinal while Damilola Gabriel (51kg) will be fighting for a bronze medal after losing in the semifinal to Ahmed Fouad Baghdouda 10-2.
The ongoing AWC is being sponsored fully by the Rivers State Government with Governor Nyesom Wike footing the bills of the Nigerian contingent from the preparatory stage till date.