From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The 13-man team Nigeria for the wrestling event for the 22nd Commonwealth Games on-going in Birmingham, England has been unveiled by the Nigeria Wrestling Federation.
The team which has six female wrestlers, four male wrestlers and three coaches include Olympic silver medalist Blessing Oborududu, Commonwealth Champion Odunayo Adekuoroye, her younger sister, Mercy Adekuoroye, Mercy Genesis, Kolawole Esther.
Others are Hannah Reuben, Ebikenmo Welson, Agiomor Ekerekeme and Amas Daniel while three coaches, Victor Kodei, Head coachWomen, Happiness Kuro- Otin, and Purity Akuh.
Daniel Igali, the President Wrestling Federation who was present at the unveiling expressed optimism that Nigeria would have a good outing based on the level of preparation disclosed that the team would depart Nigeria on Sunday, 31st of July and arrive at Birmingham on the 1st of August as wrestling events begin on August 5th.
According to him the records achieved by the sport over the years, the nation’s Wrestlers are sure bets for medals at the Games.
Igali who is also the Commissioner for Youth and Sport Development in Bayelsa noted that from 2010 till date, the Nigeria Wrestling Federation has continued to give the country more international medals.
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He explained that all athletes representing Nigeria in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are capable of winning medals at the showpiece, describing Bayelsa as the home of wrestling in Nigeria.
Igali commended Governor Douye Diri for ensuring that the federation and the team were adequately taken care of throughout their camping in Yenagoa.
Speaking in an interview, captain of the team, Blessing Oborududu said with the level of preparation of the Wrestlers, the contingent will come back home with medals.
On a personal note she declared that her aim of going to Birmingham was to return with a gold medal having won it in her last outing in 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
In separate goodwill messages, chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area Council, Kia Nigeria promised to reward the Wrestlers with one million naira for each gold medal, five hundred thousand naira for each silver medal, three hundred thousand naira for each Bronze medal for all the southern Ijaw born athletes in the team.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Government has charged the team to bring home at least six gold medals from the games.
The deputy- governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo who received the team ahead of their departure at Bayelsa State Government House noted that the wrestlers have done the country proud on previous occasions and can improve on their previous records.
“Your achievements so far are good but we want you to go there and bring back more laurels again. We believe you have stayed long enough in training camp for a victorious and successful outing at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.