The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, presented to her 2018 Commonwealth Games-bound athletes (as well as her elite performers), wrestling kits from sportswear giants Nike.
The kits which include wrestling boots/singlets, ear guards and knee pads, are part of a partial sponsorship deal stru ck by the federation with Nike.
It is also the first time in the history of the sport in Nigeria that wrestling is attracting any form of kit sponsorship.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, NWF President Hon. Daniel Igali explained the partnership between the federation and Nike, while expressing hope that the brilliant performance of the team will help attract further sponsors.
“We have a partial sponsorship agreement with Nike right now, they are just giving us some equipment, and we are buying some at reduced prices from them,” the Olympic champion disclosed. “But we are hoping that as the relationship progresses, it will get to full sponsorship.
“But I am happy because this is the first time in the history of our sport (wrestling) that I know, that we are starting to have some sponsorship concerns from an institution as highly reputable as Nike.
“And I’m hoping that from the way we are performing, not only Nike, but some other sportswear manufacturing companies will also identify with us.”
The wrestlers, who are in Yenagoa for the final phase of their preparation for the multi-sport event, are expected to depart Nigeria for Australia on 2 April.
Asked whether the new Nike kits could motivate the athletes to a great showing in Gold Coast, the Bayelsa State Lawmaker said: “I hope so. There is something about new kits, actually not just new kits, but very quality kits from one of the topmost sportswear companies in the world.
“To have identified with you means that they hold you also in very high esteem, and on your part you have to also perform to their expectation.
“So I’m hoping this will act as a boost to them (wrestling team),” Igali concluded.
Nigeria wrestling team accounted for 12 of the 36 medals won by the country at the last edition of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, Scotland, four years ago.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast will run from 4-15 April.