By; AYO OJEDOKUN Lagos
Team Nigeria continued her impressive performance at the 2018 African Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt by winning two gold, two silver and two bronze medals as action in the Cadets Freestyle events was concluded on Day twp of the tournament.
Ebizimor Kelvin Sariki recorded an impressive 8-2 win over Decan Jantjies of South Africa to hand the hosts her first gold medal of the night, in the 45kg weight class. Afterwards, he danced round the mats to the applause of the crowd at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Centre.
“I feel so happy and amazed for winning the gold medal,” the excited youngster, said.
“It was not so difficult for me, but I have the passion for the sport, so I used all my strength to fight for the gold medal and won it.”
In the 60kg category, Stephen Tope Akintewe subdued Alex Foday Kallon of Sierra Leone 4-0 via pinfall to hand Nigeria her second gold of the night.
Kenechukwu Nnaemeka was not so lucky as he had to settle for silver after losing 6-0 to Fathi Ismail of Egypt in the final of the 65kg class. Similarly, Morgan ThankGod also won silver following his defeat to Christian Guidilim of Cameroon in the final of the 71kg weight class.
Bayelsa-born Peremobowei Ebinueower humbled Burundi’s Raoul Brillant Nganji, 10-0 via technical superiority to clinch the bronze medal in the 51kg weight category.
There was also another bronze medal for Team Nigeria from Iwenji Isaac in the 92kg after he overcame Ali El Quardi of Morocco.
Iwenji only started wrestling just four months ago, and he said he is happy with what he has achieved so far, while looking forward to a better performance next time.
“I feel good because this is my first time of wrestling in the African Championships, and I just started wrestling last October,” he said. “So I just give glory to God.
“I believe myself that I’m going to achieve more, because in the next Championships, I’m going to win gold.”
After the Day 2 of competition, President of Nigeria Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali told NWF Media he is impressed with the performance of his team, adding that they are getting the needed exposure.
“I think that’s a very good result,” the Olympic Champion said. “For the Freestyle team, everybody wrestled and represented Nigeria very well.
“We must know these are 15, 16 and 17-year olds, not too much is expected of them. They need to be exposed to this level of competition, and that’s what we are affording them. And I’m really glad that they are having this opportunity.”
Attention will now shift to the Juniors on Day 3 of the tournament.