President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Daniel Igali has heaped praises on the country’s wrestlers to the recently-concluded 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, saying he is ‘extremely satisfied’ with their performances.
The wrestlers won 8 medals (3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze) at the Games, accounting for over 30% of the overall medals (24) won by Team Nigeria in Gold Coast.
Asked what he made of the wrestlers outing at the Games, the newly-elected vice-president of the Commonwealth Wrestling Committee said: “Extremely satisfied with the performances of our athletes.
“Before we left, I told you everyone going had an opportunity to win a medal, and indeed at the competition, everyone did have a chance to win a medal. Four were unlucky not to win, but everybody gave a good account of themselves.
“And (with) 3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals, by far the runaway winners of the female wrestling tournament at the Commonwealth Games, winning 3 gold, a silver and bronze medals in the female category. Placing overall first ahead of Canada and India in the female category was just fantastic,” the Olympic champion told NWF media.
The Bayelsa State Lawmaker, however, disclosed that the achievements of the wrestlers in Gold Coast wouldn’t have been possible without adequate preparation and the support they enjoyed from the Rivers and Bayelsa States Government.
“I think it was down to preparations. You know we had a very closed camp, really focused camp in Bayelsa for two months because we knew we had lots of challenges.
“We studied a lot of tapes; we mimicked the styles of our opponents. We went back to matches we lost against all the people we won against at this tournament, and really got prepared.
“But I must also tell you that the Governor Wike National Wrestling Classics that we had in November, and the African Championships in February, really prepared these athletes for this tournament.
“So I want to use this opportunity to thank Governor Wike for all the support he gave to us. In fact, I don’t think this victory will be complete without the wrestlers going to present these medals to him, because he was very instrumental. The two tournaments he hosted were very instrumental in these results.
“And I will also want to use this opportunity to thank the Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency Gov. Seriake Dickson for the enabling environment he provided for the team to camp in Bayelsa for about three months.
“For both the Wike National Wrestling Challenge and the African Championships, and the focus camp we had after those tournaments in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, I really want to thank these two very gallant Governors,” he said.