With the recent ranking of Odunayo Adekuoroye as the first ever Nigerian Wrestler to become the global number one in 55kg weight class, the President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali Igali says it is time the Nigerian government invest money in sports where they enjoy comparative advantage.
Making a case for wrestling, the former Olympics champion urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to give more attention to sports where Team Nigeria can challenge favourably for medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 1999 World Champion pleaded with both the Executive and Legislative arms of government to support other sports in Nigeria by way of adequate appropriations rather than just expending unnecessary time and funds on just football.
“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 lamented.
Igali boasted that under his watch as President of the Federation, Nigeria was able to produce the first female wrestler ranked number one in her category.
Lamenting about their inability to attend international events, 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.
With little attention from government and the corporate world, Igali is not ready to put pressure on the wrestlers ahead of the event holding in France as he just advised them to “always put in their best effort. On a good day, I know their best effort would be enough to fetch Nigeria medal(s).”