Few athletes have a chokehold over their fields like 2018 Commonwealth 68kg wrestling gold medalist and eight times African Champion Blessing Oborududu.
The 29-year-old wrestler has become the poster girl for Nigerian and African wrestling after dominating the sport for over a decade and with yet another gold medal to her name in the 68kg wrestling event at the recently concluded 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF) in Abuja, Oborududu certainly shows no sign of letting her dominance slip and the National Champion has declared that no female wrestler “can stand”
“I really appreciate God for making it possible for me to win at the National Sports Festival and also maintain that position as a champion,” the Gold Coast Commonwealth gold medalist told busybuddiesng.com.
“You know being it is very easy to be a champion but it’s not easy to maintain it, but to God be the glory I’ve been maintaining it for over 10 years and I’ve not seen someone that can stand me in Nigeria here so I really appreciate God”.
Oborududu’s dominance over her contemporaries on the domestic and continental scenes which she attributes to “confidence, training and God Almighty” has proven tricky to replicate on a consistent basis on the wider global stage for the Bayelsa state born wrestler.
A fantastic career which has seen her become an eight-time African Champion and win gold at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games, Bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and Silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, in addition to a gold medal at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games and gold at the 2013 Commonwealth championship held in Johannesburg, South Africa where she was voted best wrestler of the tournament has however been slightly unfulfilled by Oborududu’s inability to go beyond the second round at the Olympics and to win a medal at the World Wrestling Championships.
The closest she has come to a medal at the World Championships was in 2017 when she narrowly missed out on a bronze medal after she lost 7-8 to Colombian Jackeline Castillo in a third-place bout.
At the 2018 edition in Budapest, Oborududu was part of a Nigerian contingent that all lost out in the first round after what she describes as “very poor preparation”.
Shoddy preparations, inadequate training facilities and a lack of funding are sadly everyday realities that Oborududu has to contend with as she battles to stay at the top and despite being courted by a number of countries, the prodigiously talented wrestler says she has no intention of following in the footsteps of the President of the Wrestling Federation Daniel Igali and swap Nigeria for any other country in order to fulfil her dreams of being Olympic and World Champion.
“For me, I really want to stay in Nigeria and make it and make Nigeria proud,” she explains about her motivation for rejecting numerous offers to represent other countries.
“I really want to stay in Nigeria because I feel that in Nigeria everyone thinks that you cannot stay here and make it and we have it all if we can have that faith and belief we can stay here and make it.
“For me, my belief is that I’ll be in Nigeria and represent Nigeria and to make my country proud and one day I would be a World Champion and Olympic Champion before I retire.”