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Port Harcourt comes alive as African Wrestling Championship begins

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The main bowl of the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, venue of the African Wrestling Championship, which begins… today.

Today in the magnificent Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt, wrestlers from 25 African countries will begin a journey to write their names in gold. It is the African Wrestling Championship, which has pulled the best matsmen from across the continent to the remodeled Civic Centre.

The wrestlers will battle for 270 medals, comprising 90 gold, 90 silver and 90 bronze medals in various categories of the competition, which is usually dominated by Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia.

Looking forward to a successful competition, president of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali said yesterday that everything necessary has been put in place to ensure a hitch free competition.

He also assured Nigerians that the country’s contingent would maintain their place among the best in the continent.

Among those expected to win gold medals for Nigeria are serial champions, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu and Boltic.

“In the women category, we are the queens of Africa and this time we want to win all the 10 gold medals in the category. Above all, we hope that the competition will catapult many of our athletes to international prominence because we have some top juniors eager to take on the world. “I want to thank Governor Wike and also pledge that the wrestlers and the LOC will not disappoint him.”

Igali rates Egypt as the only country that could stop Nigeria from a clean sweep of the gold medals, adding that the North Africans have been training with Russian coaches, who have made them very competitive.

Also sure of a good outing for the Nigerian team, seven-time champion, Blessing Oborodudu says she is confident of claiming her eighth successive continental gold medal here.

Oborodudu has moved up from the 63kg class to a new weight category of 68 kg. Even at the bigger weight, she is optimistic of winning the gold medal.
 
“The preparation for the African Championship has been good, we have been in camp for about three weeks,” the Bayelsa-born freestyle wrestler said. “So I’m ready to go.
 
“This will be my eighth time of winning the African Championship, and this 2018 is in a different class (68kg). It is no more 63 kg again.
 
“I’m equally preparing for them (the wrestlers in that weight class); I know most of them there. I think I’m good to go.
 
“By the special grace of God, I have the full confidence that I will win the gold medal,” a confident Oborodudu concluded.
 
From the logistics angle, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the competition, tagged ‘Port Harcourt 2108,’ Boma Iyaye, says everything has been put in place for today’s opening ceremony.

Iyaye, who spoke at the Alfred Diete Civic Centre, the venue of the championship, said the wrestlers, officials and heads of delegations would experience the best of hospitality in the Garden City.

The LOC chairman, who is also the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, commends the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for providing everything needed for the championship, boasting out that the opening ceremony would be spectacular. 


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