4th May, 2012
Technical Adviser of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, NWF Daniel Igali says it will be a miracle if Team Nigeria win a gold medal in the wrestling event at the London Olympic Games.
Igali said the Nigerian government has not really prepared her athletes to win a gold medal in international championships, especially at this year’s Olympics.
He argued that winning gold medals in international tournaments involves long term planning, and proper funding of the athletes before such dream can become a reality.
Igali, who won a gold medal for Canada at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 sai some countries in Europe budget a minimum of $1m for an athlete to win a medal be it bronze, silver or the ultimate gold medal.
He reasoned that the main problem of Nigerian athletes is poor funding and lack of long term planning.
“Our athletes are not well prepared in terms of long term planning for them to excel at the Olympics. A top athlete gets at least $1m to prepare for the Olympics in most of the developed countries in Europe and America.
“Unfortunately, reverse is the case in Nigeria, where athletes are not properly funded despite their natural sporting talents,” Igali said.
He further revealed that the federation is glad that four Nigerian wrestlers have qualified for the Olympics in their various categories.
He said there is a possibility that Team Nigeria will win some medals in Wrestling, but he is not sure if they would be gold. “We are happy that four of our wrestlers have qualified for the Olympics. There are two men and two women. Blessing Okorodudu in 63 kg, Amarachi Obuajuwa in 72 kg, Depo Briggs in 84kg and in 96kg is Finidi Ebotic.
“These wrestlers have equal opportunities of winning medals at the Olympics despite the fact that their preparation was not that smooth,” he concluded.
By Francis Atuchi/Abuja