– Express Financial Challenges
President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali has said the federation is working hard to get more wrestlers into professional wrestling leagues abroad in order to improve their techniques and put them in competitive shape.
At the moment, world silver-medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye is the only Nigerian wrestler fighting in a league outside the country, the Indian Pro Wrestling League.
“We have very few professional wrestling leagues in the world,” the Bayelsa State Lawmaker informed. “You have one in Germany and you have another in India.
“In Germany, you need one athlete in a weight class and in India, you also need one athlete in a weight class. That makes it two athletes in a weight class in the world, which means you have to either be a gold or silver-medallist essentially to get into any of those leagues.
“So, it is a tough sail. But we are lucky we have Adekuoroye in the Indian Pro Wrestling League. We need to do more to push one or two more athletes, and I don’t think we have more than that to get into any of these leagues.”
Alternatively, the vice president of the Commonwealth Wrestling Board also informed that the NWF occasionally gathers the athletes in camp to also enhance their techniques.
“Aside that, though, what we sometimes do is we get them into camps. Because what happens is, most of these athletes do not improve when they come to camp for competitions.
“The only time you can really teach technique and strategy is when you don’t have any tournament. There is no rush to do anything, then you can have them.
“So, sometimes we do that but it is not very frequent because it goes back to funding.”
The World and Olympic champion further explained how difficult it is to even bring the wrestlers together in camp, adding that the NWF no longer get subventions from the Sports Ministry.
“For the federation to bring in athletes, you have to accommodate them, you have to feed them, you have to get medical personnel with them and you have to transport them. It costs millions of naira. And the federation needs to be funded to also do that.
“And in an age where we don’t get any subventions from the federal government anymore, the federation needs to source for funds to do that. It is almost becoming a very herculean task.”