Tokyo Olympics: Oborududu, Brume Give Nigerians Reasons To Cheer With Two Medals

By Akinola Ajibola

 

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

Nigerian duo Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume gave their fellow compatriots back home some reasons to cheer as they hope for more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.

This followed a week of bad news for Team Nigeria ranging from the declaration of 10 athletes as ineligible to participate in the games, to the suspension of Olympic medallist, Blessing Okagbare, among others.

Amid the fears of shattered dreams at the Olympics, Oborududu revived the hopes for Nigerians following a brilliant performance in the semi-final of the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling.

Paired with Battsetseg Soronzonbold, the 32-year-old beat her Mongolian opponent on Monday to reach the next round and guarantee Nigeria its first medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

She later went on to face Stock Mensah Tamyra Marianna of the United States of America to jostle for the gold medal in that category in a keenly-watched final.

Oborududu, however, lost 4-1 to the American.

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

25-Year Long Jump Record Crushed

But the defeat was not enough to deter the 10-time African champion from being proud of her achievement after becoming the world’s number two woman wrestler.

She also made history on Tuesday as the first wrestler to win an Olympic medal representing Nigeria at the Olympics.

The Olympian won a silver medal – the second for her country after Brume who made the country proud earlier by winning a bronze medal in the women’s long jump category.

Brume leaped a best jump of 6.97m behind Germany’s Malaika Mihambo and Brittney Reese of the United States of America who claimed the gold and silver medals respectively.

The 25-year-old Nigerian had won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Doha and later jumped a distance of 7.17m at the Chule Vista Festival in California in May.

Nigeria's Ese Brume competes in the women's long jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Javier SORIANO / AFP
Nigeria’s Ese Brume competes in the women’s long jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Javier SORIANO / AFP

 

By this time, she had crushed Chioma Ajunwa’s 25-year long jump record of 7.12m which won her a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Brume was also the only Nigerian athlete who reached the final of her event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil where she finished fifth.

Apart from the brilliant performances from Oborududu and Brume, Nigerians are hoping for more medals as second-seed Odunayo Adekuoroye begins her quest for an Olympic medal in the 57kg weight category at the ongoing games.

Also within the medal range is Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who will be competing in the men’s Shot Put final.

 

More Money For Medallists

Meanwhile, praises have been pouring in for Oborududu and Brume from various individuals and groups – including Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate our daughter and Nigerian wrestler, Blessing Oborududu, for winning a silver medal in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“Deltans and Nigerians are very proud of this great achievement,” the governor said of the feat recorded by the wrestler.

Nigeria's Ese Brume reacts as she competes in the women's long jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Javier SORIANO / AFP
Nigeria’s Ese Brume reacts as she competes in the women’s long jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Javier SORIANO / AFP

 

He also commended Brume whom he said he called on Monday before her athletics event to bring home Nigeria’s first medal at the Olympics.

“She did! I am sure that I spoke on behalf of all Deltans and Nigerians when I said that we are all extremely proud of her for bringing home Nigeria’s first Olympics track and field medal since 2008.

“Well done Ese!” he concluded.

As a way to motivate the athletes, Nigerian authorities announced that medallists at the ongoing games would be paid triple of their prize money.

A senior official of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Simon Ebohdjaiye, explained that the move was to appreciate the impressive and historic performances put up by the athletes.

“Gold medallist will now be rewarded with $15,000 while silver and bronze medal winners will each get  $10,000 and S7,500 respectively,” he said

“The earlier award is $5,000 for gold, $3,000 for silver, and $2,000 for bronze. The gesture is to drive home the point that the Federal Government rewards superlative efforts.”

Tokyo Olympics: Oborududu Wins Silver In Women Wrestling

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

Team Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu on Tuesday won a silver medal in the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling category.

She had guaranteed Nigeria a medal on Monday after beating Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold to reach the final.

Although she lost the final to American world champion Stock Mensah Tamyra Marianna 4-1, the 32-year-old can be proud of her achievement after earning Nigeria’s second medal at the Tokyo games.

Earlier in the day, Ese Brume had made the country proud by winning bronze in long jump.

Meanwhile, second-seed Odunayo Adekuoroye will begin her quest for an Olympic medal in the 57kg weight category on Wednesday.

The three-time World championship medallist Adekuoroye will be up against Anastasia Nichita of Moldova in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, Aminat Adeniyi lost 4-2 via pinfall to Ukraine’s Iryna Koliadenko, despite leading 4-0 in their round of 16 bout.

The Commonwealth champion, Adeniyi, was hoping for Koliadenko to reach the final, so she could via for a bronze medal through the repechage.

But it was not to be as Koliadenko was stopped in the semi-final by Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan, who won 10-0 via technical superiority.

History maker

Oborududu, who began wrestling at St Jude’s Girls Secondary School in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, had been aiming to clinch gold in Tokyo.

But Mensah proved too strong.

Still, she emerged as Nigeria’s first ever Olympics medalist in wrestling.

USA's Tamyra Marianna Stock Mensah (red) wrestles Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
USA’s Tamyra Marianna Stock Mensah (red) wrestles Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

On her way to the final, Oborududu made light work of Elis Manolova in the round of 16, thrashing the Azerbaijani 13-2 via technical superiority, before securing a hard-fought 3-2 win against Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan in the quarter-finals.

After a cagey opening moment in her semi-final bout against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, the energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.

A late fight back saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.

Tokyo 2020: Igali Praises Oborududu, Says Wrestlers Not Under Pressure

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu (blue) wrestles Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

The Caretaker Chairman of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, on Monday said the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games could have been Team Nigeria’s best chance to be on the multiple podia.

Igali, a former member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, stated that the federation had done enough to put Nigerian wrestlers in the mix for medals at the games ongoing in Japan.

“We will continue to do our best and that is sacrosanct. I am glad that the whole country is getting to know a bit about the work we have been doing,” he said.

The Olympic gold medallist believes the wrestlers have had the opportunity to exhibit their talents at the Olympics, noting that their performance has been commendable.

A file photo of Daniel Igali.

 

“We are on the brink of jostling for the gold medal. There is no undue pressure or distraction from any quarter. The Wrestlers are not under any pressure.

“I can boldly say the athletes have the full backing of the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, who has been very supportive of the team,” he stated.

The federation chief noted that Blessing Oborududu, who recently booked a spot in the Women’s Freestyle 68kg wrestling final, was their project since the inception of his tenure.

Nigeria's Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia's Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women's freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP
Nigeria’s Blessing Oborududu reacts after winning against Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold in their women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. Jack GUEZ / AFP

 

He explained that the athlete was discovered from an inter-house wrestling competition at a high school after which she was invited to the national camp in 2007.

“The wrestling team (members) are 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.

Wrestling: Oborududu, Adeniyi, Idris Qualify For Tokyo Olympics

Nigerian female wrestlers at the Olympics qualifying tournament in Tunis

 

Ten-time African champion Blessing Oborududu made light work of Enas Ahmed of Egypt and Senegal’s Anta Sambou, winning 13-2 and 10-0 via technical superiority respectively, before sealing a place at her third Olympics with a 4-0 pinfall victory against Tunisian Khadija Jlassi.

Adeniyi, a 4-time African champion, recorded a 7-0 win against Amel Hammiche of Algeria, demolished Zineb Hassoune of Morocco 10-0 via technical superiority and overpowered Cameroon’s Berthe Ngolle 3-0. Despite going down to her rival Marwa Amri 3-1 in a keenly contested bout, Adeniyi secured her place in Tokyo alongside the Tunisian Olympic bronze-medalist.

Meanwhile, teenage sensation Idris impressed on her debut on the big stage with lots of eye-catching displays to book a place at the Olympics games with her first attempt.

Youngster Adijat Idris after booking her place at the Tokyo Olympics

 

The 19-year-old delivered two technical superiority wins against Egypt’s Nada Mohamed and Debora Ture of Guinea Bissau, scoring 11-0 and 15-4 respectively, before dismissing Ibtissem Doudou of Algeria in her third round-robin match.

And despite a 2-1 loss to homegirl Sarra Hamdi, Idris, who claimed gold at the Baraza Champion of Champions Wrestling tournament in Yenagoa in January, advance to her maiden Olympics alongside the Tunisian.

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It could have been a perfect day for Team Nigeria in Hammamet, however, Bose Samuel was stopped in the quarter-finals of the 53kg category by her Cameroonian rival Joseph Essombe Tiako, who won 2-1 via pinfall. A bronze medal for the 2018 African champion was not good enough, as only the top 2 in each weight class qualify for the Olympics.

 

Caption 3: Blessing Oborududu on the podium, she won gold in the 68kg category

 

Oborududu, Adeniyi and Idris will thus join former World No.1 Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) to the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games, which will run from 23 July to 8 August this year.

Adekuoroye already sealed her place at the Games by virtue of winning a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.

The competition comes to an end on Sunday, with the men taking to the mats in the freestyle events.

Team Nigeria Prepares For U.S. Streets Invitational Wrestling

Nigeria’s Commonwealth Champions, Aminat Adeniyi, Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Oborududu.

 

Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) and  Blessing Oborududu (68kg) have commenced preparation for the upcoming Beat The Streets Invitational wrestling event in the United States of America.

The three female freestyle wrestlers won gold at the recently-concluded 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and are currently training in Akure and Yenagoa with their sparring partners, ahead of the one-day event scheduled to take place at the famous Times Square in New York on 17 May, 2018.

The prestigious event which will feature some of the finest wrestlers in the world is on the aegis of the United States Wrestling Federation.

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali stated that the competition will afford the athletes the needed exposure and experience at global level.

“You go and compete against the top wrestlers in the world in your weight category, that is what we’ve always wanted for them,” the Olympic champion said.

“But in this particular instance, their transportation is taken care of by the Beat the Streets organisers. So it is a plus for us.

“For us, it is an opportunity for our athletes to be at one of the premier wrestling events in the world, and to have the added experience and exposure at this tournament.”

After about 2 weeks of intensive preparation, the team, a coach and an official will depart Nigeria for New York on 14 May, and return a day after the tournament on 18 May.

Nigeria Wrestling Federation Unveils Team For Rio Olympics

Rio Rio Olympics, Nigeria WrestlingSeven wrestlers consisting of five women and two men will represent Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The wrestlers are Commonwealth champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Mercy Genesis, Aminat Adeniyi, Blessing Oborududu and Hannah Reuben.

Others are Amas Daniel and Soso Tamara.

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, said that the wrestlers are motivated to win medals for country at the Games.

The wrestlers are expected to depart for Rio along with other members of Team Nigeria in the coming week.

Six Nigerian Wrestlers Seal Olympics Qualification In Algiers

Nigerian-WrestlersSix out of the 10 wrestlers that represented Nigeria at the Africa/Oceanic qualifiers in Algiers, Algeria have qualified to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympics scheduled for August 5 to 21.

Four female wrestlers and two male freestyle wrestlers joined Commonwealth Gold medallist, Odunayo Adekuoroye, who booked her place after winning bronze at the World Championships in Las Vegas.

The female wrestlers to compete at the Olympics include; Mercy Genesis (48kg), Aminat Adeniyi, (58kg), Blessing Oborududu (63kg) and Hannah Reuben (69Kg).

All-African Games champion, Mercy Genesis who failed to impress at the 2016 Africa Championship, was in fine form as she won all three fights against Hanene Salaounandji of Algeria by technical Fall, 10-0; Rebecca Muambo (CMR), 7-2 and Jessica Lavers-Mc Bain (AUS) by Fall, (10-0).

In the 58Kg, Aminat Adeniyi finished second (Silver) as Tunisia’s finest Marwa Amri defeated her by Technical Fall.

Seven time Africa Champion, Blessing Oborududu suffered a narrow defeat 8-7 by Hela Riabi another Tunisian wrestler.

After failing to participate at the 2016 Africa Championship, Hannah Reuben made up for her loos, as she won a Gold medal for team Nigeria defeating Egyptian, Enas Ahmed by 8-2.

In the male freestyle category; Africa Champion, Daniel Amas (65K) maintained his form by defeating Australian Sahit Prizreni. Amas will not be the only male wrestler as Africa Bronze medallist; Soso Tamara also booked his place.

Nigeria wrestlers, who will not be are the 2016 Rio Olympics are; Female wrestler, Blessing Onyebuchi (75Kg), male freestyle, Welson Ebikewinimo (57Kg), Melvin Bibo (74Kg) and Emmanuel Nworie (Greco Roman 66Kg).

Nigeria Names 10 Wrestlers For Olympics Qualifier

Olympics QualifierThe Nigeria Wrestling Federation has named 10 wrestlers that will represent the nation at the Africa/Oceanic Olympics qualifier slated for April 1 to 4, 2016 in Algeria.

The wrestlers would be aiming to earn a place in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The team to the Olympics qualifier comprises five female wrestlers, four male freestylers and one Greco Roman wrestler.

The list of female wrestlers are; Genesis Mercy (48Kg), 3 times Africa Champion, Aminat Adeniyi (58Kg), 7- times Africa Champion and Captain, Blessing Oborududu (63Kg), Hannah Reuben (68Kg) and Blessing Onyebuchi (75Kg).

The male freestyle wrestlers are; Welson Ebikewenimo (57Kg) , Daniel Amas (65Kg), Melvin Bibo (74Kg) and Soso Tamara (97Kg) while in Greco Roman, Nworie Emmanuel (66Kg) will seek to redeem his image after a disastrous outing at the Africa Championship.

Odunayo Adekuoroye, who has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning a bronze at the 2015 World Wrestling Championship held in Las Vegas, USA will accompany the team to cheer them to victory.