By Solomon Nwoke, Port Harcourt
TODAY, the curtains will be drawn on the week-long African Wrestling Championships tagged Port Harcourt 2018 holding at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre’s indoor Sports Hall.
The championships had about 19 countries from the continent participating. They include Liberia, Egypt, Morocco, Guinea-Bissau, Tunisia, Algeria, Namibia, Kenya, Burundi, Senegal, Ghana, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Central Africa Republic, Madagascar and host, Nigeria.
No fewer than 90 wrestlers represented Nigeria at the championship in all the categories namely, the Cadet – within the age group of between 15 – 17 years ( Greco Roman, Freestyle and Women wrestling); Junior and senior.
Nigeria, no doubt, maximized her hosting right apart from contesting the top position, but having the opportunity of exposing the young wrestlers who in the near future, will replace the aging wrestlers at international meets.
So far, at the time of filing this report, Nigeria is occupying the top position in the two categories ( Cadet and Junior) concluded with a total of 44 medals made up of 21 medals from the cadet winning Nine gold, five silver and seven bronze and 23 from the junior with 15 gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze medals. The tally is sure to increase at the end of the senior events today.
Egypt are occupying the second place with a total of 20 medals with 14 gold, five silver and a bronze, Algeria are third with a total of 20 medals made up of 10 gold, six silver and four bronze while Tunisia hauled a total of 15 medals with four gold, 10 silver and a bronze.
However, in his reaction, the president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation ( NWF ), Honourable Daniel Igali expressed gratitude to the Rivers state government led by Barr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
He said, “ the 2018 African Wrestling Championship, being hosted in the City of Port Harcourt becomes very significant in the sense that this is the first time the African Wrestling Championship is being hosted in Sub Saharan Africa.
“This has been made possible through the efforts of sports loving, dynamic and erudite governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and of course the Federal Ministry of Sports”.