President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali has called for early preparation for the country’s wrestlers ahead of the 12th All-Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, which will be staged from 19th to 31st August this year.
The World and Olympics champion was confident wrestling can deliver 10 gold medals for Team Nigeria at the Games, given early camping for the athletes.
After overcoming financial difficulties in March, Igali led a contingent of 16 Nigerian wrestlers to the 2019 Africa Senior Wrestling Championships in Hammamet, Tunisia, where they won a total of 13 medals, including 6 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals, with the female team voted the best at the tournament.
“We must start preparing right away,” the Bayelsa State lawmaker advised. “From what I did see at the African Championships, the females have the capacity to win between 7 and 8 gold medals. If we prepare from now, I can almost guarantee that we will win about 7 and 8 gold medals with the women alone.
“I also see the possibility of winning about 4 gold medals in the men, that takes us to over 10 gold medals, which is about our target for this Games.
“So, that gives me a lot of course for optimism. I’m very optimistic that if we prepare well and that is depending on our preparations, if we start our preparation now, because we are about three solid months away from the Games, if we start our preparation in terms of the physical training now, and then we go to the specifics in June, and tipper off in July, then, by August I think we will be fine to go and do the country proud.”
Nigeria won the wrestling event at the last All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo four years ago, claiming 19 medals comprising 9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze.