Sixteen athletes will represent Nigeria at the forth coming 2019 Africa Games billed for Rabat, Morocco from 19th to 31st August.
The list expected to be released soon by the Nigeria Wrestling Federation is seven-man short, compared to the 23 that represented the country at the last edition held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.
The Technical Director of the NWF, Damien Ohaike said the list was reduced to accommodate only the wrestlers in the Olympic Games weight categories.
“The preparation is going smoothly in Bayelsa and we will leave Bayelsa for Abuja on the 19 . They have cut our list to Olympic weight class only and we will be going with six Women, six Freestyle and four Greco-Roma wrestlers. We will soon make the list available because we are still considering a lot of things,” Ohaike told Sportinglife.ng.
The reduction in the list of wrestlers to the continents showpiece will no doubt be a major setback to the country’s quest for medal haul as Wrestling has been one of the highest medal winning sports for Nigeria at consecutive Continental Championships and multi-sport international engagements such as the Africa Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Nigeria won the wrestling event at the Brazzaville 2015 with 19 medals, including nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals – comparatively one of the highest medal winning sports at the Games. Team Nigeria finished overall second with 144 medals (47 gold, 55 silver and 42 bronze) behind winners Egypt who led with 217 medals (85 gold, 64 silver and 68 bronze).
Some of the wrestlers expected to defend their title at the Africa Games include World wrestling silver medalist and five-time African champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye; nine-time Africa Champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Blessing Oborududu; two-time Commonwealth gold medalist, Aminat Adeniyi; five-time African Champion, Daniel Amas; two-time Africa champion, Melvin Bibo and two-time Africa champion, Mercy Genesis and Soso Tamarau
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While three-time African Champion, John Emmanuel, fast-rising African champion, Sunmisola Balogun and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Bose Samuel will be looking forward to make their debut at the event, the likes of Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Blessing Onyebuchi and Hannah Rueben will be hoping to win gold on second attempt.