Wrestling will do well in Rio Olympics, says coach Akuh

WrestlingAs federations, whose athletes have qualified for the Rio Olympics await the Federal Government directive on preparation to ensure a sterling performance at this year’s games, National Team Assistant Coach, Purity Akuh, says the wrestling federation has mapped out a programme that would lead the country to success.

Seven freestyle wrestlers have qualified for the games. They include five women, Odunayo Adekuoroye (53kg), Mercy Genesis (48kg), Aminat Adeniyi, (58kg), Blessing Oborududu (63kg) and Hannah Reuben (69Kg); and two men, Daniel Amas (65K) and Soso Tamara.

Akuh told The Guardian yesterday that the wrestlers, who are now on a two-week break, will soon be back in camp for the final preparation for the games.

“For now, the wrestlers are on a two-week break because we felt there was need for them to rest. We are still waiting for the NOC (Nigeria Olympics Committee) to summon the athletes to camp. Already, we have proposed a camp in Romania and also proposals to attend three to four championships before the Olympics. We have plans for our wrestlers to meet with top five to six freestyle wrestlers in the world before the real event at Rio.

“The countries that we intend going for competitions include Canada, Germany, Spain and probably Romania. The authority quite agreed with us in all our proposals and we were given assurances of attending some of these places in order to fine-tune the athletes before the competition proper,” he said.

Akuh dismissed fears that the team might not return to camp soon due to paucity of funds, adding: “I am very sure that even when funds are not ready yet, I know the president of the federation will recall the athletes to camp. This was exactly what he did for them before the Olympic trials in Algiers even when there was no approval yet from the government. Mr. Igali knows what the target is and he is trying as much as possible to ensure nothing stops the wrestlers from exceling in Rio.

“There is another qualification slot scheduled to hold on May 6, in Turkey and our president is trying everything to ensure that the number of wrestlers going for the Olympics increases to eight.”

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