Nigeria wrestlers on the verge of missing 2023 African Championship*

By Dare Kuti

It appears all is not too well at the camp of the Nigeria Wrestling Team as the African senior, Junior and cadet wrestling championships get underway in Tunis, Tunisia from 15th to 23rd May, 2023.

However, judging by the fact that no official of the federation can give any details of the participating contingent, it appears there is not approval yet from the ministry of youth and sports.

It will be recalled that the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, working in partnership with its international federation, UWW, engaged the services of Angel Pineda, a Greco Roman specialist to shore up the fortunes of the Greco Roman sport in Nigeria about three weeks ago.

The Wrestling Federation had its national trials in Yenagoa on the 16th and 17th of April 2023. That was followed up by immediate camping in two locations, yenagoa and Akure – sponsored by the Wrestling federation.

There are indications that the Bayelsa state government is sponsoring three junior athletes and a coach to the African championships, aside that, officials and athletes alike remain uncertain as to their participation at the African championships as no definitive commitment appears to have come from the federal ministry of youth and sports.

Over the past two decades, the Wrestling federation has been one of the top medal producing federations in the country. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Wrestling won the only Silver medal for team NIGERIA.

Just last year at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, with a contingent of ten athletes, Wrestling won 3 gold medals.

It will be a crying shame if barely one year to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, one of our medal hopeful sports is not able to participate at a critical pre Olympic qualifier, the 2023 Senior, Junior and Cadet African Wrestling Championships.

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