Commonwealth wrestling gold medallist in the 57kg category Odunayo Adekuoroye says her love for the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Daniel Igali and her dream to win an Olympic gold medal for Nigeria has seen her turn down countless offers to represent many “European and Asian Countries”.
Nicknamed the “Pantera Dancer” for her unique sashaying style on the mats, 25-year-old Adekuoroye has enjoyed phenomenal success in her career with multiple titles on the domestic and international scenes.
The four-time African Champion also has two Commonwealth gold medals to her name and in 2017 in Paris, she became the first and only Nigerian to make the finals at a World Wrestling Championships where she won silver – a feat which earned her the United World Wrestling History Maker Award.
Although she couldn’t add another medal to her collection at the 2018 edition in Budapest, Hungary, the 2018 National Sports Festival gold medallist believes however that her accomplishments in the past year meant 2018 was “a very good year” and she hopes that 2019 will be even better.
“2018 was a very good year,” she told busybuddiesng.com, “for winning a Common Wealth gold medal back to back it’s not easy”
“At the African Championship I won gold and in the World Championship what you didn’t prepare for sometimes you don’t get although I really prepared for it but God knows why but I believe in 2019 everything will change. I’m ready. The National Sports Festival was just like a preseason match for me, I’ve learnt my lessons there and I have to tell the world that I’m still Adekuoroye Odunayo.”
Her accomplishments certainly resonate around the world and many countries have taken notice of her talent and performances. With 2019 being a pivotal year in terms of qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in 2020 Adekuoroye has not been short of offers from countries looking to poach her from Nigeria.
But despite the often harrowing experiences and challenges that come with representing Nigeria in sports, the Ondo State born wrestler believes she has a “future” in Nigeria and however tempting those foreign offers get, a number of considerations stop her from following in the footsteps of the President of the NWF Igali and represent a country other than Nigeria.
“I have a lot of offers outside Nigeria many offers but there are some things that I do consider,” she says.
“I love my President [Igali] so very much, he has invested in me and I need to pay back. I have a future, I believe when I deliver the Olympic gold for Nigeria by God’s grace there would be hope for me in the future.
“And there are a lot of people that I do think of when other countries come to me; I think of my president, he has been a father to me since day one he has invested so much. I think of my father in the Lord, Dr. D. K. Olukoya he has invested so much spiritually physically and financially and I think of my coach Akuh Purity too, he has brought me from nowhere to this standard so these are the three people that I do consider and I’ve been promising them that don’t worry I will deliver for you so I need to fulfill my promise.”