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We plan to raise the bar in wrestling, says Igali

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NWF President, Daniel Igali.

Following his re-election as the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Mr. Daniel Igali has expressed his desire to surpass his previous achievement in his next four-year tenure in office.

Igali was returned as the president of NWF in last week’s National Sports Federations elections held at Abuja Stadium on Tuesday. He defeated the Second Vice President of United World Wrestling (UWW) Africa, Chief Austin Edeze by 34 to 16 votes to retain his position.

Speaking to The Guardian on what he hopes to achieve in his new tenure, Igali looked back at the last four years and submitted there has been a lot of improvement in the federation in terms of its ranking as against the spot they were in 2013.

“I believe we improved on the position we were in 2013. My plan is for our wrestlers to win medals at every world and Olympic event. By the time we meet our sponsorship targets, we hope to be one of the top 10 wrestling nations in the world, at least in one discipline of the sport within the next four years.

“I believe I have grown as an administrator in the last four years. In spite of the few challenges, we are better placed as a federation to achieve a greater height in the sport. I want to produce our first Olympic medalist and world champion,” he said.

Igali, who is also the chairman, Technical and Development Commission of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, said keeping the athletes competitive through regular national championships was also part of his plans for the next four years.

“I believe we need to build a sustainable system with a healthy fan base across the country. I will like to see a league format competition system that will constantly keep our athletes in shape before the next competition. It is my desire to ensure that we have functional wrestling associations in all the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital that are up and doing.

“I want to see 30 states participating at national championships. I believe with the various contacts I have made over the past few years, the issue of funding will be better. We will also pay attention to the development of talents at the youth level, which will ensure that replacement of ageing athletes is properly addressed,” he stated.

The former world and Olympics champions, who disclosed that he plans to stage an international event early next year, said, “the government of Rivers State has undertaken to host the first edition of the Governor Wike National Wrestling Challenge Cup. The dates are still being worked out. But we intend to have that competition before November this year. The challenge will be a prelude to the cadet, junior and senior African Wrestling Championships that will hold February in Port Harcourt, next year, that is if we are able to secure the hosting rights this year,” he said.



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