Commonwealth champion Blessing Oborududu (68kg) has moved up to a career-high No. 3 in the latest world rankings released by the United World Wrestling, following her impressive outing at the recently-concluded Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series tournament in Rome, Italy, where she won a bronze medal.
Obourududu (30pts) jumped four places from 7th in the previous ranking to her best-ever 3rd position, behind top ranked American and world champion Tamyra Mensah (74pts) and second-placed Anna Fransson (40pts) of Sweden.
Similarly, Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) reclaimed her second position in the global ranking, after winning gold at the tournament in Rome. The world bronze medalist was rated No. 3 prior to the tournament.
She now has 43pts in second place behind Japanese world no. 1 Risako Kawai with 60pts. In third place is former world champion Ningning Rong of China, who has 40pts.
Reacting to their latest rankings, president of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali, who served as their coach in Rome, stated that participating at the Ranking Series tournament in Italy has yielded the expected results.
“The main aim of going to the (Matteo) Pellicone Ranking Series tournament was to improve our rankings at the world and have our athletes highly seeded at the top 4 in the Olympics. And everything has gone according to plan,” he said.
“Last year Adekuoroye was No. 2 but slightly dropped (to No. 3), now she is back to No. 2. Blessing Oborududu was No. 4, dropped to No. 7, now she’s back to No. 3, which is her best ranking so far.
“We have the African Championships next month; actually in a couple of weeks, which is also a ranking tournament that carries about 18 points for gold. So, if Adekuoroye and Blessing (Oborududu) both win (there), I think they can’t do worse than No. 2 in the rankings, it could even get higher.”
Their current ranking, if maintained, is expected to fetch the wrestlers favourable draws at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan later this year.
Though, former world No. 1 Adekuoroye is the only Nigerian wrestler that has qualified for the 2020 Olympics following her bronze-winning performance at the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, Oborududu and other wrestlers are expected to also qualify for Tokyo, with the Africa/Oceania Olympic qualifiers set for El Jadida, Morocco in March.