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Nigeria's All-Female Wrestling Team Prepares For World Championships In Budapest

posted 3 Sep 2013, 06:15 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 3 Sep 2013, 06:16 ]

Nigeria will be represented by three female wrestlers in World Championships scheduled to take place in BudapestHungary later this month. Training in a multipurpose gym in the oil producing Niger Delta, one of them - Blessing Oborodudu says the pressure of being a woman in a male-dominated sport is what makes her tougher than many of her teammates.

BAYELSA, NIGERIA (REUTERS) -  Nigerian wrestlers train with their coaches at a sports complex in the country's oil rich Niger Delta ahead of the upcoming world championships in BudapestHungary.

Blessing Oborodudu is one of the three women wrestlers in the team. Only one male wrestler qualified for the championships but he will not be travelling to Budapest because he was unable to make it through the intense training.

Also on the team are Odunayo Adekuroye, an All Africa Games medalist and Ifeoma Iheancho. Adekuroye and Iheancho will slug it out in the 51kg and 67kg respectively.

This will be Oborodudu's second appearance at an international competition; the first being at theLondon Olympics in 2012 where she lost to her Polish opponent.

Competing in the 63kg category, the 25-year-old wrestler hopes this time around her intense three month training program will pay off and she will be able to bring home a medal.

"I did not do well at London 2012 and now I'm preparing to go to the World Championship inHungary and I have already tried myself in the Africa Championship which we went in South Africaand I did well in the African Championships. I am training everyday. World Championship is not like African championship and I am doing well putting in my best to to make sure that I will win the World Championship," said Oborodudu.

But Oborodudu admits that the training can be more challenging physically for a female wrestler, although this has not dampened her passion for the sport.

"As a woman, being a wrestler you feel more pain in your body and some days when you wake in the morning you can't be able to get up. Sometimes you feel very weak that you can't go for training but with the help of my coaches, sometimes my couch will call me in the morning: 'Blessing are you ready for training?' That will motivate me to go to training every morning. And when I get to the matt, after the training all the pain is gone. Hoping to go for another training that day," added Oborodudu.

Nine wrestlers make up the coaching staff working with the team to get them up to speed on the latest wrestling rules and techniques.

Officials say they will use this tournament to gauge the strengths of the wrestlers and rank them accordingly ahead of the next Olympics in 2016.

Daniel IgaliNigeria's Olympic gold medalist in the men's freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney is the president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF).

Igali says the lack of proper facilities is a major impediment to the wrestlers' training regimen.

"The major thing lacking now is a dedicated wrestling gym. As you can see in a hall like this, there should not be other sports and it should just be wrestling, then you can have a hundred percent focus, you can come and train whenever you want because sometimes if you want to go abroad to compete you are going to mimic the conditions here and you will want to train at that time and sometimes that time maybe 8 o'clock in the evening and you will come and train at 8 o'clock in the evening but when you have this hall and at 6, 7, 8 basketball is training then you can't do that," the NWF president said.

Wrestlers competing in Budapest will be able to take part in three international styles: the men's freestyle, men's greco-roman and women's freestyle.


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