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Balogun, Fayolemi shine as North Africans dominate opening day


Seven times African Wrestling Champion, Blessing Oborodudu is one of the female wrestlers Nigeria is banking on for medals at the fast approaching African Championship in Port Harcourt.

Nigeria’s Sunmisola Idowu Balogun yesterday booked her place in the semifinal of the women cadre, while Damilola Gabriel Fayolemi qualified to compete for the bronze medal at the on-going African Wrestling Championship holding at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt.

Competing in the 65kg, Balogun defeated South Africa’s Charmone Oosthuizen 11-0, while Fayolemi, who lost to Egypt’s Ahmed Fouad Hussein Baghdouda 10-2 in the semifinal of the 51kg in the Greco-Roman category, competed for the bronze medal yesterday.
Other Nigerian athletes, who excelled at yesterday’s duels, include the nation’s medal hopeful, Peter Ukuro, who prevented the North Africans from complete domination of the championship.
Ukoro, who earlier in the second round dismissed Morocco’s Yassine Jaa 8-0 in the 55kg of Greco-Roman, beat Namibia’s Linus Katujanda 15-7 in the third round in a highly competitive match to book a place into the semifinal stage of the competition before the final later yesterday night as at press time.
Yesterday’s events also saw Nigeria’s Moses Ifiok Ntem victorious over South Africa’s Ulrich Fuls, Henry Opukuma (Greco-Roman 45kg) defeated South Africa’s Riehan Botha 11-8, as Perediegha Ogidi beat Mervin McCartney Eixab of Namibia in 9-3. But the North Africans, led by Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria dominated the events, which showed how prepared they were for the competition. 

Competition will continue today with two finals in the cadet and the junior cadres.The finals of some weight categories in the cadets and Greco-Roman cadre were held late last tonight immediately after the opening ceremony, which commenced by 6:30 p.m.

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