Nigerian wrestling sensation, Odunayo Adekuoroye has suffered a shocking defeat and will not compete for a medal in the Women’s Freestyle 57kg category at the Tokyo Olympics.
In a swift turn of events, with just a minute of fight time remaining, second seed Adekuoroye lost 8-2 via pinfall to Mongolia’s Anastasia Nichita despite leading the bout 8-0 in the round of 16.
The African champion was in total control, suddenly, Nichita found a way to bring her down and pinned her till the referee declared it over. Stunning victory for the Mongolian. Adekuoroye’s hopes to compete for bronze through the repechage was dashed when Nichita lost 6-3 to Bulgaria’s Georgieva Nikolova in the quarter-finals.
Things got worse for Team Nigeria on the mat as the only male wrestler, Ekerekeme Agiomor, who is making his Olympics debut lost by technical superiority 1-12 to Deepak Punia of India in the Men’s Freestyle 86kg.
Nigeria’s only chance to compete for another wrestling medal is on youngster Adijat Idris who will wrestle in the Women’s Freestyle 53kg tomorrow.
Nigeria occupies 65th position on the Tokyo Olympics medal table courtesy of the silver medal won by Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume’s bronze from the long jump event.
Reigning champions Brazil were held to a goalless draw by the Ivory Coast in the men’s Olympic football competition on Sunday, while Andre-Pierre Gignac’s hat-trick in a 4-3 win over South Africa kept France’s hopes alive.
Brazil, who won gold for the first time five years ago on home soil in Rio, could have moved to the brink of qualification for the knock-out stage in Yokohama but were denied by a stubborn Ivory Coast.
It could have been worse, though, as they had to play more than an hour with 10 men after Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz’s 13th-minute red card for bringing down Youssouf Dao when he was through on goal.
Eboue Kouassi’s late dismissal evened up the numbers, but the Ivorians held on as former Barcelona winger Malcom missed a late chance for the South Americans.
Brazil lead Group D on goal difference ahead of their final game of the opening phase against Saudi Arabia, who lost 3-2 to Germany to be eliminated from the competition.
Felix Uduokhai’s 75th-minute goal gave Germany, who had Amos Pieper sent off midway through the second half, a crucial three points.
The Germans, looking to win men’s gold for the first time as a unified nation, will reach the next round with victory over the Ivory Coast in three days’ time.
France would have been staring at an early exit with a slip-up against South Africa, but veteran striker Gignac rescued Les Bleus in a pulsating match in Saitama.
The Group A encounter burst into life after a goalless first half, which saw South African midfielder Luther Singh miss a penalty, as Kobamelo Kodisang put the underdogs ahead eight minutes after the restart.
The 35-year-old Gignac, captaining France in Japan, levelled shortly afterwards, only for Evidence Makgopa to restore South Africa’s slender lead in the 72nd minute.
Former Marseille star Gignac, who last played for the French senior team in 2016, equalised again.
Teboho Mokoena thought he had won the match with just nine minutes to play with a wonderful curling strike that flew in off the crossbar, but Gignac slotted home his fourth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot five minutes later.
There was still time for France to snatch a winner, as Gignac found Teji Savanier to drill in a low strike in the second minute of added time.
“After each South African goal it felt a little more like we were on the plane back,” said Gignac, who has played for Mexican club Tigres since 2015.
“We saw the joy after Teji’s goal and we gave ourselves a final against Japan. With heart, we can do well. We don’t want to return to France.”
South Africa, who were hit by two players testing positive for Covid-19 in the Olympic Village before the tournament started, will need to beat Mexico in their last group game and hope Japan get the better of France to have any chance of making the last eight.
The hosts held on to register their second straight win with a 2-1 success against Mexico, who are second above France on goal difference.
Goals from Real Madrid youngster Takefusa Kubo and Ritsu Doan put them in control inside the first 11 minutes and it proved enough despite Roberto Alvarado halving the deficit.
Spain moved to the top of Group C as Mikel Oyarzabal’s late strike — their first goal of the tournament — downed Australia 1-0. Argentina beat Egypt 1-0.
In Group B, Honduras came from behind to beat New Zealand 3-2 and South Korea thrashed 10-man Romania 4-0 to leave all four teams on three points.
Blessing Okagbare’s vast experience and remarkable performances is expected to inspire Team Nigeria’s track and field athletes when they start competing at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, July 30th.
Alongside Okagbare are eleven other athletes namely: Oluwatobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, Grace Nwokocha, Chukwuebuka Enewechi, Enoch Adegoke, Usheoritse Itshekiri, Patience Okon-George, Imaobong Uko and Emmanuel Ojeli.
Favour Ofili and Ruth Usoro, both US-based collegiate athletes, who came into the Nigerian Olympics radar late in the qualifiers have completed two of the three mandatory out of competition tests, OCT, required and are awaiting final clearance.
Ten Nigerian athletes – most of whom are alternates who have not fulfilled the three mandatory OCT tests required – are in the process of taking their tests.
They must take the final tests one day before the competition. The process to get them tested has since been activated by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The athletics team has moved into the Olympic Village from their training camp in Kizarazu and will be in action from day one of the competition with Okagbare leading Grace Nwokocha in the women’s 100m heats.
The mixed relay team will also be in action as the team strives to return to the podium 13 years after it last did at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad held in Beijing, China in 2008.
While Okagbare will be competing in the event for the third time since she made it to the final at the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London in 2012, Nwokocha, the fastest home-based athlete since Mercy Nku ran 11.04 seconds in 1997 in Benin, will be making her Olympics debut in Tokyo
Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko has returned home on Friday, days after he went missing from a pre-Olympics camp in western Japan.
Local media reports that Ssekitoleko is being held at the Ugandan police headquarters to determine if he committed an offence or not.
His pregnant wife, mother and government officials who had travelled to the Entebbe airport could not greet him upon arrival.
Uganda’s ministry of foreign affairs in a statement noted that the athlete was being “rehabilitated,” assuring that the government would help him understand how such acts of misconduct cannot only affect him as an athlete but also other athletes in the sports sector and the nation at large.”
Olympics chief Thomas Bach revealed “doubts” and “sleepless nights” over the postponed Tokyo Games on Tuesday as the opening ceremony nears after a year’s delay and coronavirus chaos that has made them deeply unpopular with the Japanese public.
Bach, speaking at the International Olympic Committee session in Tokyo, said the unprecedented step of postponing the Games had proved more complicated than he thought.
The build-up to Friday’s opening ceremony has been exceptionally rocky, with Tokyo still under a state of emergency and public opinion consistently against the Games, which will be held largely without spectators.
“Over the past 15 months we had to take many decisions on very uncertain grounds. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights,” said Bach.
“This also weighed on us, it weighed on me. But in order to arrive at this day today we had to give confidence, had to show a way out of this crisis,” he added.
Bach has drawn scattered protests during his visit to Japan, where the latest poll in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper showed 55 percent of respondents opposed holding the Games this summer.
Four people have tested positive in the Olympic Village, heightening fears that the influx of thousands of athletes, officials and media will add to a spike in cases in Japan.
A teenage US gymnast staying outside the Village was also among the 71 Games-related cases reported so far.
Olympic and Japanese officials have staunchly defended the Games, which are being held in a strict biosecure “bubble” with daily testing. Eighty percent of athletes at the Games have been vaccinated.
“We can finally see at the end of the dark tunnel,” said Bach, adding: “Cancellation was never an option for us. The IOC never abandons the athletes… we did it for the athletes.”
Bach was speaking at an unusual IOC session, where mask-wearing delegates sat socially distanced at individual desks and the podium microphone was wiped after each speaker.
It reflected an Olympics which will mainly take place in empty stadiums to the sound of recorded crowd noises, starting with the opening ceremony in the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
The ceremony will take place without the music of Keigo ‘Cornelius’ Oyamada, who quit on Monday after an outcry over past interviews where he described bullying disabled schoolmates.
“I have become painfully aware that accepting the offer of my musical participation in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics lacked consideration to a lot of people,” he said in a statement.
Major sponsor Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, also scrapped plans to run an Olympic-linked brand campaign in Japan, as a senior official said the Games lacked “understanding” from the public.
“With just days to the official commencement of the Tokyo Olympics, our countdown commences on May 24, 2021, with camp for the home-based in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Bayelsa where athletes are expected to intensify their readiness for podium success in Tokyo,” he said. “We are also monitoring the performances of the foreign-based athletes closely.”
Dr. Ebhojiaye further stated, “Abuja will play host to Athletics, Canoeing, Rowing, Weightlifting, Para Athletics and Taekwondo, Lagos host Para Powerlifting and Para Table Tennis, Wrestling is camped in Bayelsa with Badminton in Port Harcourt.”
He affirmed that Nigeria decided to participate in only ten events where she has a competitive advantage.
This exercise is a fulfillment of the Ministry’s promise to organise Olympics camping for 90 days. The first phase will be done for 14 days in March. This is the longest camping ever organised for the Olympics and the objective is to win medals at the Tokyo games.