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Cash-strapped NWF may miss 2019 African Wrestling Championships

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[FILES] A Nigerian female wrestler, Blessing Onyebuchi, throws her opponent to pick a silver medal at the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Igali says wrestling and other sports need proper funding in Nigeria<br />

Team Nigeria may miss the 2019 African Senior Wrestling Championships slated for Hammamet, Tunisia from March 26 to 31 due to lack of funds.
 
According to the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), athletes registration closed yesterday even when the federation had not purchased the licences of her wrestlers and secured accommodation fees ahead of the continental championships, which will feature competitions in the cadet, junior and senior categories.
 
As host of the competition last year, Nigeria emerged overall champions of the tournament in Port Harcourt, claiming victory in both the Freestyle (men) and Women’s Wrestling.
 
Such was the dominance of Nigeria in Women Wrestling at the tournament in Port Harcourt that her athletes won nine of the available 10 gold medals, in addition to a silver medal.
 
Nigeria also paraded no fewer than 25 reigning African Champions in the different weight classes at the moment.

Amongst them were Blessing Oborududu, Aminat Adeniyi, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Hannah Reuben, Mercy Genesis, Emmanuel Nworie, Bose Samuel, Ifeoma Nwoye, Sunmisola Balogun, Amas Daniel, Emmanuel Ogbonnya John and Ekerekemo Agiomor.

Failure to compete at the continental showpiece in Hammamet means Nigeria will also miss out of the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan in September since the African Championships is a qualifier for the global event.
 
The ripple effect is that Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan will be reduced as the World Championships is the first qualification tournament for the multi-sport fiesta.
 
The federation said the Ministry of Youth and Sports had been trying to raise funds and remedy the precarious situation, adding, “If Nigeria failed to make it to Tunisia for the African Championships later this month, it would be the first time-ever that the country would miss the continental event it has dominated over the years.”


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