Reigning Commonwealth champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye, says she is not under any form of pressure ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan, and remains confident of claiming a historic gold medal for Nigeria in wrestling.
The three-time World Championships medalist, Adekuoroye and four other Nigerian wrestlers will be attempting to do what none of their compatriots have been able to do at the Games previously, winning an Olympic medal.
Having established herself globally as one of the best wrestlers in the 57kg category, expectations are high that the 27-year-old would deliver Nigeria’s first-ever wrestling medal in Tokyo.
Such expectations usually come with pressure, however, the 6-time African champion says she is physically and mentally ready for the Games, adding that she enjoys a huge support from her team in camp.
“I don’t have any pressure going to the Olympics, I’ve been to the Olympics before (in Rio 2016),” the former World No. 1 said.
“I’ve trained physically. Mentally, I have trained myself. And my coach has been on me every time. Even the President (Daniel Igali) still comes to our training just to teach me some things.
“So, having an Olympic champion (Daniel Igali) in my gym, having a world-class coach (Purity Akuh), and my training partners are doing brilliantly well. So, I don’t have any pressure going to the Olympics.
“I believe by the special grace of God, it’s my time to shine. So, I will definitely bring gold to Nigeria by His grace.”
In readiness for the Tokyo Games, Adekuoroye won gold at the Poland Open Ranking Series tournament last month, impressively demolishing World and Olympic champion, Helen Maroulis of USA 13-0 via technical superiority on her way to landing the 57kg top prize.
The two-time Commonwealth champion said her performance at the Poland Open inspires the confidence needed to excel in Tokyo.
“For me, it’s like a pre-tournament for the Olympic Games,” she said. “Doing well in Poland gives me more confidence going to the Olympics.
“At least, most of the wrestlers I may wrestle with in the Olympics, I wrestled against them in the Poland Ranking Series, So, it’s a very good tournament for me. For like a year plus, I’ve not been to any international competition (due to Covid-19).
“So, going to Poland Ranking Series and performing excellently well is a very good competition for me ahead of Tokyo.”
The Tokyo 2020 Games will run from 23 July to 8 August, with wrestling scheduled for 1 – 7 August, 2021.
Reps Summon Dare Over Doping Crisis At Tokyo
The House of Representatives has begun investigation of the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping, asking the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, to come and explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
Tidesports source gathered that the resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled, ‘Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.’
Consequently, the House resolved to “invite the Minister of Sports and Youth Development (sic) to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions, while mandating the Committee on Sports to “investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrence.”
Moving the motion, Mr Babatunde Ayeni said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating in the comity of nations.
Ayeni recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian Football Team which bagged the historic first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
The lawmaker lamented the incident of July 20, 2021, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes, including the highly-rated Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
He recalled that the Athletics Integrity Unit alleged that Okagbare, who won the opening heat of the Women’s 100 meters, had tested positive for human growth hormone.
“The House is also aware that the allegation further affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules requiring those from countries deemed to be at high risk of doping to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
“The House is concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests,” Ayeni added.
NYG: Rivers B’Ball Team Intensifies Preparations
Coach of the Rivers State Male Basket-ball Team, Dagogo Okumgba, has said that preparation, are in top gear for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG)scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Coach Okumgba disclosed this yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the team is doing everything necessary to get a better outing in Ilorin when the chips are down, saying that the players are in high spirits and are poised to compete favourably when the competition gets underway.
The coach said his players are committed to their preparations for the task ahead and determined to do the state proud at the games come November this year.
“We are doing our part to prepare as a team and wait for a go ahead from the Sports Ministry for camping so as to further prepare and fortify on the earlier made preparation,” Okumgba added.
The team qualified from their zone at the recently concluded zonal elimi-nation for team sports ahead of “National Youth Games” coming up next month.
It would be recalled that the zonal elimination for team events which comprised Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states took place in Asaba, Delta State, fortnight ago.
The date for the competition was earlier fixed for September 7 to 17 this year.
10 Athletes To Represent Nigeria At Winter Olympics
Following the successful completion of its inaugural Olympics Trials in Lagos last Saturday, the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria has stated that 10 athletes would represent Nigeria at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
Technical Director, BSFN, Dr. Seun Adigun disclosed this in Lagos.
“Ten athletes will be named for the Winter Olympics.
“We will have two athletes for Bobsled, two in the Monobob women’s team, two athletes for the Bobsled men’s team, two male Skeleton and two female Skeleton athletes for the national team,” Adigun, who played a key role in Nigeria’s debut at the last Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Sourh Korea, said.
President, BSFN, Solomon Ogba stated that the team would train on ice in Europe, ahead of the Winter Games.
“This is the first stage of the preparation for the Olympics before the athletes train on ice,” Ogba said.
History was made earlier in the year when six athletes, who were selected from the first-ever trials in Lagos, trained and participated on ice for the first time in Pyeongchang.
Tidesports source reports that after a few days of training on ice, Perpetua Nwanna and Alawode Sekinat won bronze medal in their debut competition, after finishing third in the women’s double Bobsleigh IBSFSliding Korea Cup.
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