By Solomon Nwoke, Yenagoa
Bayelsa is leaving nothing to chance in their bid to maintain the lead in the freestyle wrestling and to top the list of wrestlers to be invited to camp after the Christmas break for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow , Scotland.
The state on Thursday night increased their medals haul when they won four gold , one silver and three bronze medals in the women ‘s wrestling bringing it to a total of seven gold, two silver and six bronze to top the overall medals table in the week long Governor Henry Dickson Seriake Wrestling Championship which ends today in Yanegoa.
Favour Opuene of Bayelsa state recorded a major upset in the women’s 55kg weight class by emerging the new champion after beating Esther Ayodele of Lagos State in the final and pushing the reigning champion of the class, Bisola Makanju of Ondo state to the third place.
Also in the 67kg weight category, Delta state’s Christiana Chuks emerged the new champion due to the absence of the major contenders like Ifeoma Iheanacho, a three time World medalist and others.
In the same vein, in the 72kg weight class, Plateau state’s Esther Pam held forth for a ‘no nonsense’ hard fighter, Philomena Nlemofor of the Nigerian Army who was not available for the championship. Tola Akinsunmoye of Bayelsa displaced her compatriot, Kemasaode Dressman in the second place in the same weight class.
However, Delta state was trailing in the second position on the log with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals, while Plateau placed third with three gold and two bronze medals just as Ondo occupied the fourth place with two gold, a silver and three bronze medals. Cross Rivers placed fifth with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze.
Speaking on the performance of the wrestlers so far in the championship, the president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Dr Daniel Igali commended the wrestlers for their spirit of competitiveness in the championship.
He said, “so far it has been good especially in the Greco Roman style of wrestling, there’s a close tie now among all the wrestling states. In the past it used to be Bayelsa, Delta and Ondo.
I want to see a bigger spread of the medals among the states and my greatest happiness is the new faces coming into the sport. That signifies interest and I love to see that continuing in the future”.