Opening day performance thrills Dalung
Nigeria proved its readiness to maintain its position as the continent’s leader at the on-going African Wrestling Championship when two of its athletes picked gold medals at the on-going African Wrestling Championship. The feat, achieved by Ukoro Peter and Simisola Balogun, set the tone for a good run, which also saw four cadet wrestlers coming first in their various weight categories.
After yesterday morning’s events, Team Nigeria had seven gold, three silver, and five bronze medals.
Ukoro Peter competing in the 55kg cadet Greco-Roman defeated Egypt’s Gaafar Abdelaziz 4-0 to clinch the gold medal. Damilola Fayolemi won bronze by beating Yassine Chekly of Morocco 6-2 in the 51kg weight category.
Other results include Ilechukwu Robinson (bronze) in a triumph over Tunisia’s Mehdi Dheker 8-0, while Ntem Moses lost the gold medal to Tunisia’s Lamjed Maafi 9-0 in the Greco-Roman cadre.
The cadet girls, however, gave the nation something to smile about when it won four gold, a silver and three bronze medals.
Esther Ashaolu (43kg) bronze; Christiana Ogunsanya gold, (46kg); Aina Ohida, bronze (49kg); Mercy Adekuoroye, gold (53kg); Jumoke Adekoye, gold (61kg); Cecilia James, gold (68kg); Essien Nathasia, silver (73kg); and the nation’s bright star, Simisola Balogun, gold (65kg).
Apart from the gold medals, four of the cadet girls qualified for the Youth Olympic Games, a feat Nigeria Wrestling Federation President, Daniel Igali described as amazing.
He said, “Our target is to get seven athletes to the Youth Olympics and now we already have four. This means that we are on target.
“The athletes wrestled with a lot of guts and we must commend them for a job well done.”
Ukoro Peter from Bauchi State told reporters after collecting his gold medal that “I feel very glad and happy about it.
“It was awesome but enjoyable because Greco-Roman is enjoyable to me.
“I feel very glad and by the grace of God, I know I can be the best.”