By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio
YENAGOA — THE Nigeria Wrestling Federation, NWF, yesterday unveiled an eight-man team to the Senior World Wrestling Championship billed for Paris, France from August 20 to 26.
The team which comprised six wrestlers in different categories and two coaches, were unveiled to newsmen at the secretariat of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
President of NWF, Dr Daniel Igali, in an interview said Nigeria has never won a gold medal in a world championship tournament but expressed confidence that the athletes have been intensively training in the past weeks and would do the country proud.
Igali, who however, expressed disappointment that lack of adequate funding was threatening the participation of the team at the world championship tournament, commended the government of Bayelsa and Rivers states and other individuals who have come to the rescue of the federation.
“As athletes, I have told them to go to the mats and give in their best efforts and from what we have seen of these crops of young men and women, their best efforts on a given day would be good for Nigeria.
“Nigeria has never won a gold medal at the world championship but we are hoping to win our first gold medal this time. For the first time in our history we are going to the world championship with the number one ranked athlete, Adekuroye Odunayo who is the number one in the 53KG category, and when you have her, you have hope and assurances that something good would happen.
“The only little hiccups we have is that of funding. We still do not have funding for this tournament, we have hopes in different places but am only sure of that of the Bayelsa state government coming through. The Rivers state government has been very supportive including Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, MFM, and few corporate and individual support.
“I am not ashamed to say it, Nigeria as a country does not prepare to go to tournaments to win medals, a few individuals have taken it upon themselves to ensure that our athletes are where they are today,” Igali said.