BY MONICA IHEAKAM
SIX Nigerian wrestlers at the weekend kept their Olympic dreams burning by booking their tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The wrestlers who took part in the Africa and Oceania Olympic qualifier held at the Mohamed Boudiar Olympic Complex in Algiers claimed six out of the 36 slots available.
All-African Games champion,Mercy Genesis won the 48kg title with 3-0 mark, including a pair of falls. Hannah Reuben 69kg was able to pull out a final tournament victory with an 8-2 win over Enas Ahmed of Egypt to clinch the gold in that category despite having to fight off her back after a whip-over to near fall by Ahmed.
Blessing Oborududu 63kg and Aminat Adeniyi 58kg both won silver medals and have all qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Nigeria’s Rio 2016 ticket tally increased in the men’s Freestyle event, with Amas Daniel 65kg and Soso Tamara 97kg winning gold respectively and qualifying for the Games in grand style.
Meanwhile, Welson Ebikewenimo 57kg and Melvin Bibo 74kg failed to make it to Rio as they lost their semi final bouts.
Nigeria went to the Africa Oceania Olympic qualifiers with nine wrestlers, winning four gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
The feat of the wrestlers brought to 7 the number of qualified wrestlers that would represent Nigeria at the Olympics, as Odunayo Adekuoroye had earlier qualified by winning bronze in the 53kg weight class at the 2015 World Championship in Las Vegas USA.