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Wrestling: 2020 World Championships Called Off Over COVID-19 Restrictions

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File photo: Nigeria's wrestling team.

  By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos

Team Nigeria will no longer participate at the 2020 edition of the World Championships earlier scheduled to take place in Belgrade, Serbia from 12 to 20 December, following cancellation of the tournament by the global governing body  the United World Wrestling (UWW).

The Nigerian contingent made up of Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Blessing Oborududu (68kg) and Aminat Adeniyi (62kg), under the tutelage of head coach Purity Akuh, had begun intense preparations for the World Championships before the latest development.

The UWW said in a statement that the ‘criteria defined’ for the tournament to hold had not been achieved, adding that “with many nations reinstating travel restrictions in response to COVID-19, the participation hurdles were not met”.

A substitute event, the ‘Individual World Cup’, is expected to take place in Belgrade instead, with confirmation of dates for the new competition to be announced in the coming days, UWW informed. However, Team Nigeria won’t participate at the ‘Individual World Cup’.

Following the cancellation of the World championships, the trio (Adekuoroye, Oborududu and Adeniyi), as well as other wrestlers in the country, will now shift their attention to the proposed Edo 2020 National Sports Festival in Benin City next month, where they will get their first competition in 10 months. Their last event was in Algiers at the African Championships, where Nigeria dominated Women’s Wrestling, claiming 6 gold and 4 silver medals to emerge the Best Female Team of the Tournament for a record nine times.

In a related development, President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation Hon. Daniel Igali will have to wait till next year to achieve his dream of becoming a member of the UWW Bureau, following the postponement of the Ordinary Congress and elections to 2021. No date has been fixed yet for the elections next year.

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