By: AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Nigeria’s contingent to the 2018 Cadet World Championships will on Monday , 2nd July, depart Lagos for Zagreb, Croatia – venue of the competition.
The contingent, which is made up of two female wrestlers and a coach, are scheduled to leave the Murtala Mohammed International Airport by 8:45pm (local time) aboard a Turkish airline, and are expected to arrive Zagred the next day for the competition which will run from 2nd to 8th July.
Reigning African champions, Sunmisola Balogun (65kg) and Esther Kolawole (61kg), who both won gold at the 2018 African Championships in Port Harcourt, are the two wrestlers hoping to make Nigeria proud at the event designed for athletes between the ages of 15 and 17. They will be guided by experienced head coach of the female national team, Purity Akuh.
The sensational Balogun will open her campaign on 4th July after undergoing a compulsory medical test and weigh-in same day, while impressive Kolawole will begin her quest for glory on 5th July.
It is the first Nigeria will be participating in the Cadet World Championships since its inception in 1975.
Coach Purity informed that the wrestlers are well-prepared for the championships, even as he expressed confidence in their chances of excelling in Croatia.
“After the African Championships (in February), we started preparations,” he said. “We have been working on how our athletes can perform better at world level.”
The Delta State-born coach also highlighted some of the benefits of the competition for the youngsters.
“I think it’s a very good opportunity for these two athletes in terms of exposure and in terms of gaining more experience in their career.
“I think it will really help them, especially, Sunmisola, who has qualified for the Youth Olympics (in Buenos Aires). It is going to be a very good opportunity for her to be exposed and get more experience.”