By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) on Thursday unveiled a formidable team of athletes and officials that will represent the country at the 12th African Games in Morocco.
The team, which is comprised of 16 athletes, 5 coaches and 2 officials, was presented to the media at a brief but colourful ceremony at the Dynamite Wrestling gym in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, where the wrestlers have been training ahead of the Games for the past one month.
The NWF had earlier planned to present 26 athletes at the multi-sport tournament in Morocco, but the decision of the hosts to adopt the Olympic weight classes due to inadequate funding meant Nigeria will be fielding only 16 wrestlers.
Reigning Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Blessing Oborodudu (68kg) and Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) top the list in women wrestling, which also include African Champions Blessing Onyebuchi (76kg), Mercy Genesis (50kg) and Bose Samuel (53kg).
In the Freestyle event, 5-time African champion and captain of the team Amas Daniel (65kg) is joined by veteran and highly-decorated Sinivie Boltic (125kg), African champions Soso Tamrau (97kg), Melvin Bibo (86kg), Welson Ebikwenimo (57kg), as well as the very prolific Ogbonna John, a 3-time African champion himself.
Two-time African champion Emmanuel Nworie (77kg) tops the list of Greco Roman wrestlers, which also has two bronze medalists on the continent; Ikechukwu Robinson (60kg) and Tochukwu Okeke (87kg), as well as debutant Alfred Pakistan (67kg).
At the 2015 Games in Congo Brazzaville, wrestling accounted for 19 medals (9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze).
It would be recalled that the athletes and officials left Nigeria for Morocco earlier in the week.