Nigeria’s sensational wrestler, Odunayo Adekuoroye, has won a silver medal at the ongoing 2017 World Wrestling Championships in Paris, France making it the first time Nigeria is on the medals table.
Adekuoroye narrowly lost to Haruna Okuno of Japan 4-5 in the final of the 55kg women’s freestyle.
Adekuoroye is ranked No. 1 in Africa and won gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships in the U.S.
Adekuoroye is now the first woman from Nigeria to march into the gold medal final at Senior World Wrestling Championships.
The Ondo State-born wrestler started her campaign by defeating Mathilde Helene 13-9 in the qualification round to move to the Round of 16.
She then proved to be too much for Lenka Martinakova as she defeated the Czech Republic wrestler 10-0.
In her quarter-final match, the three-time African champion out-powered Mongolia’s Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 8-4 before going ahead to defeat U-23 European Champion, Irina Kurachkina of Belarus 10-0 in the semi-final.
It was, however, unfortunate for seven-time African champion, Blessing Oborududu, who lost 7-8 to 31-year-old Jackeline Renteria Castillo of Colombia in the 63kg bronze medal match.
The 28-year-old Nigerian led 5-2 after first period, but the Colombian fought back to victory.
Oborududu had claimed a 10-2 victory over Mallory Velte of the U.S. in her opening match and then knocked out two-time world bronze medalist Taybe Yusein of Bulgaria 12-8.
She, however, lost in the quarter-final to two-time Junior World medallist Orkhon Purevdorj on technical superiority.
Also, Aminat Adeniyi was unlucky in the 58kg division as she was beaten in the quarter-final stage by Kagazkhan’s Tynybekova 4-3.
The three-time African champion and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth gold medallist had earlier defeated European champion, Grace Bullen of Norway 9-8 and Czech Republic’s Hockova Martinakova 10-0.
An elated President, Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, said that for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s wrestling, a wrestler made it to the medals table at the World Championships.
“This is the first time in the history of wrestling in Nigeria that we have had someone in the final, not to talk of three athletes wrestling for medals in the same tournament on the same day at the world championships.
“Well done girls, you have done so well,’’ he told NAN from Paris.
The Olympian said with what he was seeing from the wrestlers, Mercy Genesis could win a gold medal.
Igali noted that the Africa Games gold medallist is being propelled by the performances of both Blessing Oborududu and Odunayo Adekuoroye.
“Our wrestlers can actually win medals.
“God willing, it will be gold today for the Africa silver medallist, Mercy. She is a strong wrestler and I’m sure with what played out yesterday, she’ll put everything into her bouts’’.
“We can win it all someday. The announcement of Nigeria hosting the 2018 Africa Wrestling Championships increased the morale of the team.
“All I’ll say is that every Nigerian should continue to pray for the team,’’ said Igali.
Nigeria’s Genesis begins her campaign on Thursday (today) against Miglena Selishka of Bulgaria in the first round of the 48kg female category.