29 Jun 2015

Team Nigeria target 62 golds at the 2015 All Africa Games

Team Nigeria will be targeting a minimum of 62 gold medals at the 2015 All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo, Chairman of the NOC Technical Committee, Daniel Igali, has said.

Igali, who is also the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation and a member of the Ministerial Committee 2016, for the AAG and the Rio Olympics, said the target was possible if the team would begin camping early in July.
“I think Nigeria can finish between second or fourth in the medals table. We believe we can win about 62 golds; that’s the projection and it’s ambitious. But it is achievable if we begin camping now,” Igali said.

“My target for wrestling is to win at least six gold medals. I will need about 24 wrestlers for the AAG to boost our chances of getting more medals.”
Even as Igali is optimistic about Nigeria’s chances at the Games, he is wary of the odds against the wrestling team as he hopes to have his athletes feature in some tournaments before selection for the AAG despite paucity of funds.
“We’re hoping to have our national championships and trials by the end of July ahead of the All Africa Games. We’re looking at having a tournament in Romania in the second week in July before we begin the trials and selection for the Games.

“If we’re lucky to have the Governor Seriake Dickson Wrestling Classics, then we will use that as our national championships. We must have the classics before the All Africa Games, and it must be in July so that we can make selections early.

“The classics have been postponed twice, but I don’t think it’s because the governor does not have interest in the sport, it must be due to the elections. Now that the elections are over, I believe the governor will finance the classics.

“Funds are not readily available as we expected, but we’ve started partnership with some people on how to fund the wrestling team. The Federal Government is still our major financier but we’re seeking funds from Ondo, Bayelsa and Delta states; these are the states that can help us achieve some of our goals.

“The wrestling team will feature in the Romanian championship from July 12 to 17. I will want a national championship after this to select my team.

“We’ve looking at hiring a coach that will train our athletes on Greco Roman for three months because we’re deficient in this area. We also plan on hiring a freestyle coach; both of them must come in the first week of July. If I get the desired results from the two professionals after the All Africa Games, then we can retain them for the Olympics.”
Credit: Kazeem Busari/Punch

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