The President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to give more attention to wrestling, a medal producing sport.
Igali said this following the ranking of Odunayo Adekuoroye as the first ever Nigeria Wrestler to become the number one ranked wrestler in her weight class (55kg) in the female wrestling event.
The 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medallist and 1999 World Champion pleaded with both the Executive and legislative arms of government to support other sports in Nigeria by way of adequate appropriations.
“I’m happy that under my tenure as President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, we are able to produce the first female wrestler ranked number one in her category. Am hoping to not only have athletes rank no. 1, but also win gold medals at the world level and Olympics. This will be written boldly in the book of history”.
“For the past ten years the wrestling federation has been winning medals both in Africa, Commonwealth and at the world level, but what we get in return is neglect and condescension”.
“Wrestling has 18 gold medals on offer at the Olympics. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why the administrators have not thought it wise to invest heavily in a sport that is indigenous to virtually every tribe in Nigeria. I’m passionately appealing to the Executive and legislative arms Of government to give Wrestling more attention” Igali said.
“The Senior World Wrestling Championships is in five days in Paris, we have not bought one ticket, paid hotel accommodation, in fact we don’t know our fate”.
“This should never be the case because wrestling, by our records over the years deserves to be better treated. Where else in the world would one be going to a world championships with a number one ranked wrestler and five days before the event no knows whether or not they can participate at the world championships. How unserious have we become?” he queried.
“Lastly, all over the World, Government is the largest sponsor of amateur sports. No amateur sports can survive without government funds. The Nigeria Government has to support us so that the team can continue to bring glory to the country”.
On his expectations at the World Championships, Igali said “I’m not putting pressure on my wrestlers, My advise to them has been to always put in their best effort. On a good day, I know their best effort would be enough to fetch Nigeria medal(s).”