Oborududu guns for Olympic wrestling gold today

’Tosin Oluwalowo

3 August 2021

Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria celebrates after qualifying for the final in the Women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling event at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan on Monday (2/8/21). Oborududu wins 7-2 against Battsetseg Soronzoboldyn of Mongolia to reach the final where she faces Tamyra Mensah-Stock of America. The American wins 10-4 against Alla Cherkasova of Ukraine in the semi-final. [Photo/NAN]

NIGERIAN wrestler Blessing Oborududu is one fight away from winning a gold medal after qualifying for the final of the women’s freestyle 68kg on Monday.

The final, which takes place on Tuesday (today), has Oborududu battling USA’s Tamyra Mensah-Stock for a historic wrestling medal, as no Nigerian wrestler ever won a medal at the Games.

Oborududu qualified for the final after defeating Mongolia’s Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg 7-2 in the semi-finals.

She had earlier defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Meerim Zhumanazarova 3-2 in the quarter-finals, after seeing off Azerbaijan’s Elis Manolova in the Round of 16.

With Oburududu’s semi-final victory, she is assured of a medal already– becoming the first Nigerian to win a medal at the 2020 Olympics.

Speaking after her semi-final victory, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare described the 32-year-old as a blessing to Nigeria.

Dare in a statement signed by his Media Office, said her victory has wiped away Nigeria’s near misses at the Olympics.

He also urged her to go for gold in her final fight.

“This is a real blessing to Nigeria. Thank you Blessing for wiping away the pain of the near misses recorded in other events.

“Nigerians are proud of you. The display is typical of the never-say-die Nigerian spirit.

“Keep the tempo going until we reach the ultimate, which is the gold. Don’t give up the fight until you re-write Nigerian Olympics history with a gold medal in the kitty,” Dare said.

Caretaker Chairman of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, also said Oborududu’s feat will spur other wrestlers to give their best for the country.

“We will continue to do our best, that’s sacrosanct. I’m glad that the whole country is getting to know a bit about the work we have been doing.

“The wrestling team is determined more than ever to continue with their superlative performance and you can see how everyone in Nigeria is anxious to see us do well,” Igali said.

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