Three Nigerian wrestlers qualify for Olympic Games in style


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Three Nigerian Wrestlers have secured spots at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. Commonwealth wrestling champions, Blessing Oborududu and Aminat Adeniyi, as well as youngster Adijat Idris displayed impressive performances at the ongoing Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Hammamet, Tunisia.

Ten-time African champion Oborududu made light work of Enas Ahmed of Egypt and Senegal’s Anta Sambou, winning 13-2 and 10-0 via technical superiority respectively, before sealing a place at her third Olympics with a 4-0 pinfall victory against Tunisian Khadija Jlassi.

On her way to booking a place in Tokyo, Adeniyi, a four-time African champion, recorded a 7-0 win over Amel Hammiche of Algeria, and then subdued Zineb Hassoune of Morocco 10-0 via technical superiority before overpowering Cameroon’s Berthe Ngolle 3-0.

Despite going down to her great rival Marwa Amri 3-1 in a keenly contested bout, Adeniyi secured her place in Tokyo alongside the Tunisian Olympic bronze-medalist.

Meanwhile, teenage sensation Idris shone like a million stars on her debut on the big stage with lots of eye-catching displays to book a place at the Olympics at the first time of asking.

The 19-year-old delivered two technical superiority wins against Egypt’s Nada Mohamed and Debora Ture of Guinea Bissau, scoring 11-0 and 15-4 respectively, before dismissing Ibtissem Doudou of Algeria in her third round-robin match and despite a 2-1 loss to home girl Sarra Hamdi, Idris, who claimed gold at the Baraza Champion of Champions Wrestling tournament in Yenagoa in January, advanced to her maiden Olympics alongside the Tunisian.

It could have been a perfect day for Team Nigeria in Hammamet, however, Bose Samuel was stopped in the quarter-finals of the 53kg category by her Cameroonian rival Joseph Essombe Tiako, who won 2-1 via pinfall.

A bronze medal for the 2018 African champion was not good enough, as only the top 2 in each weight class qualify for the Olympics.

Oborududu, Adeniyi and Idris will thus join former World No.1 Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) to compete at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games, which will run from July 23 to August 8 this year.

Adekuoroye already sealed her place at the Games by virtue of winning a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The competition comes to an end on Sunday, with the men taking to the mats in the Freestyle events.


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