ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has demanded at least six gold medals from the Nigerian Wrestling Federation (NWF) at the forthcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the challenge when the President, principal officers and athletes of the NWF paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement on Saturday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, noted that the wrestling federation had done the country proud in its previous outings in the colours of Nigeria.
He, however, stressed the need for the Federation to improve on their previous records and performance by winning a minimum of more laurels in wrestling.
He noted that Bayelsa was a fortress in sports, especially in wrestling, and had produced a lot of great wrestlers who made their mark at national and international competitions at different times.
Ewhrudjakpo expressed confidence that the 10-man wrestling contingent of the NWF that trained in the state for about two months, was well prepared for a victorious outing at the games in Birmingham.
He urged the team to be prayerful, courageous and have a positive attitude without sparing any effort to conquer their opponents to make Nigeria proud again.
He said: “We thank you for the sacrifices you have made and the inconveniences you had to pass through while here in your training camp.
“We have carved a niche for ourselves especially in wrestling. We believe that we have the wherewithal to expand the frontiers of our capacity and achievements in wrestling and other sports.
“Your achievements so far are good, but we want you to go there and bring back more laurels again. We believe you have stayed long enough in training camp for a victorious and successful outing at the Commonwealth Games.
“You have won three gold medals; you have also won four gold medals before now. But this time around we want you to increase it to a minimum of six gold medals.”
Speaking earlier, the President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Dr. Daniel Igali, thanked Governor Douye Diri and his deputy for supporting the technical team and the athletes throughout their stay in the state.
Igali who doubles as the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, remarked that at the last Commonwealth Games held in 2020, all the 11 athletes that represented Nigeria in wrestling each won a medal and expressed the confidence that the feat would be replicated.
Also speaking, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Mr. Muhammed Haruna, described as unparalleled the support the team had received so far from the Bayelsa State Government.
Haruna expressed hope that the winning streak and good luck for which the prosperity government in Bayelsa is known had rubbed positively on the team, adding that the wrestling contingent would come out in flying colours at the championship.