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Diri donates N2m to Team Nigeria, charges wrestlers to win Olympic laurels

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Action from the just ended Baraza Champion of Champions Wrestling Tournament at Yenizue Gene in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.


Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has stressed the need for the private sector to complement government’s effort in sports development in the country.
Speaking at the Theatre of Dreams in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the finals of the three-day Baraza-sponsored Champion of Champions Wrestling Competition, Diri noted that the importance of sports development couldn’t be over-emphasised as it has the capacity to engage youths positively.

The governor lauded the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Daniel Igali, who is also president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, for setting up the facility in Yenagoa, which is the venue for the competition. He said it would contribute greatly to the development of sports, particularly wrestling in the state.

The governor also commended the Chief Executive Officer of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited, Pastor Miebi Bribena, for sponsoring the wrestling competition.
He called on well-meaning individuals, oil companies and other corporate organisations to emulate Igali and Bribena by sponsoring different sporting activities as a way of reducing youth restiveness.

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Diri congratulated the wrestlers that participated in the competition and urged them to combine sports with education. His words: “I believe that this is the only way sports will grow. We have to take sports out of government. Government has been in charge of every sports and our sports industry is not developing as fast as expected.

“So let me on behalf of the government appreciate you for this facility and today we are experiencing this very interesting competition. Commissioner after commissioner have contributed their bit to sports development. But you are not just a commissioner, you are a sportsman yourself being a wrestling champion.

“I believe that the record we set in Abeokuta, you would break it as we are expecting Bayelsa to be in the top three at the next national sports festival.”

Over 50 wrestlers across the country competed at the 4-day tournament in 11 Olympic weight classes in Women Wrestling and Freestyle events.

Apparently impressed with the standard of competition he witnessed on the final day of the tourney, despite their inactivity for nearly a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bayelsa State Chief Executive renewed his unflinching support for the wrestling family.

“Just to encourage you, we will also give a donation of N2m,” he said. “The Honourable Commissioner of Sports (Hon. Daniel Igali) will bring that to you.

“Once again, I want to thank you. I want to encourage you, and as youths, this is the right way to go, and you are doing the right thing.

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“But also do not forget your books as you become champions. You can see your role model Daniel Igali. Daniel Igali was a world champion (and Olympic gold medalist). Not only is he a world champion, he is well-schooled.

“And so, do this alongside with your books.” The Baraza Champion of Champions tournament was aimed at getting Team Nigeria wrestlers prepared for April’s Olympic Qualifiers and African Championships both in El Jadida, Morocco.

Ahead of the Olympic qualifiers, Gov. Diri said he is confident Nigerian wrestlers will not only qualify for the Tokyo Games, but also win medals for the country in Japan.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Daniel Igali, lauded the governor for his unwavering support for the development of sports in the state right from his time as sports commissioner. He said the facility called the Theatre of Dreams could accommodate a good number of athletes and host national competitions.

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