The President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali described the non organisation of the National Sports Festival for six years as a national embarrassment.
Igali said the decision for the ministry of sports under Barrister Solomon Dalung to make the National Sports Festival open is commendable.
He said, “To have gone six years without a National Sports Festival was a national embarrassment. I personally think it was a good decision to have the Sports Festival in Abuja (2018), even if subpar. I know that many people felt the national sports festival should be closed but if you look closely it opened opportunity for the young people to record upsets.
“I was very impressed with the level of competition observed at the national sports festival. Quite a number of junior and cadet wrestlers placed at the senior national sports festival”.
The Bayelsa lawmaker further said, “The past sports festival, I think it was a good idea. As long as we have a junior festival to discover talent, an open festival opens up opportunities for stars to shine or be shown the way out.
“Having said that, we had upsets in wrestling at 61kg freestyle and a few weight classes in Greco Roman. For me, we should continue to bring back the glamour to the National Sports Festival. A closed festival does not have the same glamour as an open one”.
Igali said the federation has a full plate of tournaments in 2019.
He said, “We intend to incorporate them into the national team. We have a full plate of tournaments this year, starting with the German Grand Prix in February and the African championships ships in April. Being an Olympic qualification year, 2019 is very important to us”.