The Nigerian Wrestling Federation (NWF) has written a strongly worded petition to the United World Wrestling (UWW) Federation questioning the decision to adjudge Renteria Castillo of Columbia winner of the 63kg female bronze medal match over Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu.
ACLSports.com gathered that during the bronze medal finals event between Renteria and Oborududu, the Nigerian wrestler was leading by a one point score with about five seconds to the end of the second period.
“Oborududu had a low single leg attack on Renteria who was trying to go behind without success, not only were the laces of her shoes undone, the shoe itself came off the leg of Renteria, she was then able to remove her leg and without hassle go behind Oborududu with bare feet.
“Instead of stopping the match and cautioning Renteria and possibly concluding the remaining 5 or 3 seconds, Renteria was awarded 2 points and went on to win the match by a one point score,” the petition read in part.
The 28 years old Nigerian wrestler had vowed not to wrestle again if the decision of Wednesday stands, stressing that she feels she can’t win a medal no matter how hard she wrestles with such decisions by referees at the highest level.
In the petition, the President Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, called on the United World Wrestling (UWW) Bureau to act decisively when a medal has seemingly been hijacked from a deserving athlete and given to a passive athlete.
“I am aware that the rules of wrestling state clearly that a match cannot be reversed after a decision has been made. However, I believe that in order to retain the sanctity of wrestling, the neutrality of referees and not unduly punish wrestlers who have trained all their lives for glory on the mats, the match should be reviewed.
“Mr. President, to stop athletes from unnecessary time-wasting antics, the novel idea of using wraps around shoe laces to stop shoes from getting untied during a wrestling match was introduced. Oftentimes, there is penalty imposed on a wrestler if their shoe laces come undone in the middle of a match, Igali said.
Igali in the protest letter said that “it’s really odd that at the bronze medal finals of a world wrestling championships, a shoe comes off the feet of a wrestler, that wrestler, rather than being cautioned, benefits from that process and there was no independent review from the judge or mat chairman. Rather, they were in a rush to declare the supposed winner with one leg of wrestling shoes and a sock on the other.”
The World Champion also asked the UWW Bureau to take a clear position on the decision made by the referees as it relates to a shoe coming off the feet of an athlete in the process of a match.
“I’m requesting the UWW bureau to do the needful and compensate Blessing Oborududu if indeed it’s found that renteria benefitted from a callous and contrived decision. The decision is likened to drug cheats who are never allowed to benefit from cheating when detected. This was not about a wrong call regarding points, this was a clear violation of the Wrestling rules,” he added.
Sources close to Daniel igali said that if a decision is not made before the last bout of matches today (Saturday), a Nigerian Wrestler might go on the mats with bare feet to challenge the process.