May 6, 2021

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Olympic qualifier: John, Kolawole off to Bulgaria

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By Akeem Lawal 

 

Nigeria wrestlers, Emmanuel John and Esther Kolawole, yesterday  departed  the shores of the country for  the  last  Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games World Qualifier to be held between  May 6 and 9 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Nation Sport reports that more than 400 wrestlers from 84 countries have entered the World Qualifier in a final hope to qualify their nation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Each of the 18 categories will have two tickets up for grabs, with semifinal winners securing their spots.

Both wrestlers left the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos at 8:45 pm aboard Turkish Airline in company of  national  women’s team coach Akuh Purity.

Five  Nigerian wrestlers have already secured their qualifications for the delayed   Summer Games, which runs from 23 July to 8 August.

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They are World wrestling silver medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye, 10-time African champion Blessing Oborududu (68kg), back-to-back Commonwealth gold-medalist Aminat Adeniyi (62kg), teenager Adijat Idris (50kg) and the only male wrestler Ekerekeme Agiomor (86kg).

Speaking with Nation Sport, Purity admitted that the championship will be a tough one but fancy the chances of  both wrestlers to secure their qualifications.

He said: “I am very optimistic about the Emmanuel and Esther though it’s a 50-50 thing. This is because everyone going to Sofia wants to qualify but those that have more mental toughness will definitely qualify. The way I see both of them, I am very positive that they will pick their tickets.

“This is the last hope for every wrestler in the whole world to qualify for the Olympics. It’s going to be tough for them but I’m very optimistic. I saw their last wrestling matches and I can see that it’s not the same story. They have extra ordinary skills in them. Their standard is high and I have 70-80 percent confidence that they will make it.

“We have about eight Olympic medalists who have not qualified and they will be there. We have those who have just finished their trials in their country and they are coming there. We have a lot of people coming and my wrestlers are of standard too. We are talking about getting medals at the Olympics and this is a proper place you can prove yourself,” Purity added.