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Judo:Oshodi explains choice as furore trails selection

By Samuel Ifetoye
25 July 2022   |   2:16 am
President of the Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF), Dr. Musa Oshodi, has described as blackmailers those alleging bias in the federation’s choice of Cecilia James over Enku Ewa-Ekuta in the 63kg of the judo event at the Commonwealth Games, which begins on Thursday and ends on August 8. Ewa-Ekuta, a bronze medalist at the 2019 African…

Action at the two-day judo

President of the Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF), Dr. Musa Oshodi, has described as blackmailers those alleging bias in the federation’s choice of Cecilia James over Enku Ewa-Ekuta in the 63kg of the judo event at the Commonwealth Games, which begins on Thursday and ends on August 8.

Ewa-Ekuta, a bronze medalist at the 2019 African Judo Open in Senegal and silver medallist at the 2019 African Judo Opens in Cameroun, many of these perceived ‘blackmailers’ say, stands a much better chance of making the podium at the judo event, considering her experience, unlike James, who has never been to any international competition before the forthcoming games.

They are disappointed that Ewa-Ekuta, a National Youth Games champion, National Sports Festival champion, Nigeria University Games (NUGA) gold medalist, West African University Games (WAUG) gold medalist and former African champion, was dropped for a rookie, who has never won anything out of sentiment.

“Enku-Ekuta became the first Nigerian to attend a Grand Slam in a decade… she narrowly missed out at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We do not have an idea whether the Nigeria Judo Federation has held its trials, but it is in the public domain that the federation has submitted a list to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports with Ewa-Ekuta’s name missing,” a source told The Guardian.

During the trials ahead of the Games, Oshodi disclosed that the federation resolved to go to Birmingham with its best athletes in four weight categories.

“We cannot say what weight categories we will pick to avoid causing a crisis in the camp. But I know that before the end of this month, we will know those that will represent us,” he said.

Responding to the allegations, Oshodi told The Guardian that his federation picked the best possible athletes for the Games.He said in a WhatsApp message: “At the trials in February, she (Ewa-Ekuta) came second. Is it then possible to drop second for first?

“Those spreading the report are blackmailers. I once told you that our final list will come out on July 30, but exigencies did not allow that. Thanks.”