By Christian Ogbonna
Yenagoa – The President, Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, says Nigerian wrestlers’ performance at the just-concluded African Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt, will spur them for more successes at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.
Igali made the assertion on Thursday in Port Harcourt when Fouad Meskout, African President, United World Wrestling Federation (WWF) visited his Wresting Theatre in Yenagoa, Bayelsa.
He said that Nigerian wrestlers won a total of 50 medals, comprising 22 gold, 28 silver and a bronze at the championships.
Igali said the wrestlers had commenced camping in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, noting that many of them were currently in his wresting theatre in Yenagoa.
“Athletes from across 14 countries in Africa are currently camping ahead of the Commonwealth Games coming up in April.
“In six weeks time, we’re going to the Games in Gold Coast, Australia and Nigerian athletes aim to consolidate on the successes of the just-concluded African Wrestling Championships,’’ he said.
On the wrestling theater, Igali said it was meant for the training of experienced and talented wresters, not only from Bayelsa but from across Africa.
“This centre is called `More than Medals Camp’ and this is where athletes can train and become professionals; coaches here are drawn from among professional wrestlers across the continent.
“At the moment, athletes from 14 African countries are in Yenagoa to train and also get themselves to fraternise because here is the cradle of wrestling in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Reacting, Meskout, African President, World Wrestling Federation, commended Nigerian athletes on their outstanding performance at the championships in Port Harcourt, saying: “Africa is proud of them’’.
Meskout, while rating the wrestling theatre, said the facility was up to standard and called on the government and other corporate organisations to support sports development.
“Nigeria is actually taking the centre stage as far as wrestling is concerned, and they have proved to be the pride of Africa in the world.
“I commend the level of organisation at the African wrestling competition in Port Harcourt and facilities at the wresting theatre.
“The United World Wrestling, Africa, will continue to support the facility in terms of sending more international trainees, coaches and equipments to the centres in Nigeria,’’ he said.