By Solomon Nwoke
TECHNICAL Adviser of the Nigeria Amateur Wrestling Federation (NAWF), Dr Daniel Igali has continued to express concerns over the preparation of the wrestlers ahead of next year’s Olympic Games tagged London 2012.
Dr Igali is deeply concerned that the wrestlers who are supposed to represent the country at the Games are not getting enough competitions to put them in the right frame of winning medals and this he attributed to lack of corporate sponsors for the sport.
In a recent chat with Sports Vanguard during the Sports Festival in Port Harcourt, he commended the enthusiasm shown by the athletes at the festival but said he was at a cross road as to what to do with the budding talents.
“The athletes are very determined. It’s all about determination and if there’s anything above 100 percent the athletes are ready to give it to you. Our problem is about funding.
And if we are talking about the Olympics and we want to win at the Olympics, I expect by this time, that my athletes going to the Olympics next year should have had about 20 to 25 competitions this year.. But we don’t have that and we continue to kid ourselves and it’s something we want to do but we are not capable of doing it”, he said.
Still savouring the record attendance of the wrestlers during the Garden City Games in Port Harcourt he said, “wrestling at the festival was fantastic, we had a record number of attendance of athletes who made their first appearance in the wrestling sport during the festival.
I saw about a hundred new athletes. It’s not about discovering then. It’s about what to do with them. We do not have a developmental programm.
These athletes should all be competing in about 30 to 40 matches every year. I can assure you that most of them are attending their first tourney in the whole year. With this , sadly, I don’t know how far we can go and that is my problem”.