Igali laments poor funding, as NWF unveils Team Nigeria’s wrestlers
• Athletes depart today without training partners
The Nigerian Wrestling Federation (NWF) President, Daniel Igali, has lamented that paucity of funds would force seven athletes selected to represent the country at the Rio 2016 Olympics to travel for the games without training partners.
The NWF at the weekend in Abuja unveiled the country’s Olympics wrestling team, comprising five women and two men.
Speaking at the ceremony, which also served as the send-forth gathering for the wrestlers, Igali, described the athletes as the best Nigeria has ever produced going to the Olympics.
Igali lamented that with just six days to the Olympics, the NWF was yet to make any arrangement for training partners to accompany the team to the Olympics, saying that the federation would need over N15m to take the training partners to the games.
“As I talk to you, we don’t have fund to take training partners to Rio and these athletes cannot train by themselves.
“In wrestling and some elite sports, very little things can ruin years of training; these athletes are going to Rio on August 1 and the first person is going to compete on August 16, that means that we have about 15 days to train in Rio before they compete. There is a need for them to go with their training partners. If they don’t go with their training partners, and their outcomes doesn’t go the way it should, nobody should be blamed.”
He added that the wrestlers, including Mercy Genesis, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Aminat Adeniyi, Blessing Oborududu and Hannah Reuben (women), as well as Amas Daniel and Soso Tamara (men), have the potential of winning medals for the country in Rio.
“On Monday, the team would be going to Rio. There is one thing that we require from these athletes in Rio, and that thing is to give their 100 per cent effort… that is what the NWF is asking from each of theses athletes on the mats.
“They all know that if you leave the mat and you know that you could have been a bit better, you have not only cheated yourself, but your own country. We have trained some odd thousand hours because of this Olympics and we have done all that just to go and wrestle for minutes,” he said.
Speaking further, Igali, a Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist with Canada, said the unveiling was to further motivate the athletes, who have been committed to their fatherland through the sport.