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.

PHOTOS: ‘Dreams Shattered,’ Disqualified Nigerian Athletes Protest In Tokyo

 

Nigerian athletes disqualified from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games hit the streets of the Japanese capital in protest on Friday.

They had prepared to represent the country in the track and field events but were declared ineligible to participate in the games.

On Wednesday, Channels Television reported that the 10 athletes were declared ineligible to compete at the games by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

 

AIU is an independent body created by World Athletics to manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping.

In its reaction, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) took responsibility for the lapses recorded during the process and reassured Nigerians that the nation’s performances at the Olympics would not be negatively impacted.

While participating countries continue to celebrate heroic achievements and medals in the Japanese capital, it’s a sad tale for the affected athletes would condemn what they described as the negligence by sports administrators.

Those affected are Ruth Usoro, Favour Ofili, Annette Echikunwoke, Chioma Onyekwere, Glory Patrick, Chidi Okezie, Tima Godbless, Rosemary Chukwuma, Yinka Ajayi, and Knowledge Omovoh.

 

They marched through some of the streets of Tokyo carrying placards with various inscriptions as they registered their displeasure over the situation they have found themselves in.

Some of the inscriptions read: “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence”, “All we wanted to do was compete”, “We are not just alternates but potential medallists”, “We are not just alternates, but potential medallists”, “Dreams shattered”, and “10 out of 23, we can’t continue this way”.

The protests by the athletes were captured in photos shared by a Facebook user, Kuti Dare Gattuso.

 

‘God Has Greater Plans For Me’

Ofili, in an emotional message, was quoted as saying she and her counterparts were punished for the unknown offence committed by some persons.

She said:

Hi everyone. It’s with utmost disappointment I share the news that I won’t be competing at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic game after coming this far.

Firstly, I give God Almighty all the thanks for the journey thus far and all my accomplishments this season prior to the Olympics. Thanks to my family all my fans and all those that intercede for me in their prayers.

I feel it’s right that everyone out there knows the truth. I was punished for the crime committed by those who are supposed to be looking out for me because of incompetence and selfishness.

I worked really hard to qualify for the Olympics and in the end, this is the payment I got in return, ineligible to compete.

I am a product of grace and God always got my back. #Though_Sorrow_May_Come_at_Night. #Joy_Will_Definitely_Come_in_the_Morning.

Y’all negligence can’t demoralise me for I know God has greater plans for me. Forgiveness is of the Lord. I pray God gives me the grace and enablement to do so ASAP.

Thanks, everyone, and God bless

 

 

AIU announced that the affected Nigerians were disqualified along with eight athletes from other countries while two others were replaced prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.

It explained that the affected athletes, who represented some ‘Category A’ Federations, were disqualified from the final entries for the Olympics for failing to meet the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules.

AIU listed the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations to include Nigeria, Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

Nigeria was listed in ‘Category A’ at the start of 2020 after a continued period of weak domestic testing levels.

See more photos below:

No Booze, No Autographs: Tokyo 2020 Unveils Fan Rules

The Olympic Rings are pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP.

 

No alcohol, no hugs, no cheers and no autographs: Tokyo Olympic organisers unveiled tough new rules for spectators at the pandemic Games on Wednesday, as they marked one month until the opening ceremony.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto warned festivities “will have to be suppressed” to keep the Games safe, and conceded that organisers will need to be “creative” to stoke a party atmosphere.

Games chiefs decided on Monday to allow up to 10,000 spectators into competition venues, but Hashimoto warned them not to expect the kind of festival mood currently being enjoyed by football fans at Euro 2020.

“In Europe, the venues are filled with celebration,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we may not be able to do the same.”

Spectators will need to clear several antivirus requirements, including temperature checks and mask-wearing, just to get into venues — with no refunds available for those who can’t.

Once inside, they are forbidden from cheering or “making direct contact with other spectators” and will be asked to go straight home after events end.

Asking athletes for autographs or “expressing verbal support” is also a no-no, as is waving a towel or “any form of cheering that could create a crowd”.

“The festive mood will have to be suppressed — that has become a major challenge,” Hashimoto told reporters.

“People can feel joy in their hearts, but they can’t be loud and they have to avoid crowds,” she added.

“Those are the areas where we need to be creative, and we are putting in a lot of effort to come up with a new way of celebrating.”

Spectators will also have to do without alcohol, even though it is allowed at other sporting events currently being held in Japan.

Hashimoto said the ban was decided “to alleviate the concerns of the public as much as possible.”

‘True values’

file photo of Olympic Tokyo 2020

 

With the July 23 opening ceremony nearing, organisers are scrambling to finalise preparations and win over a sceptical public, pledging the Games will be safe for locals and participants.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, former athlete Hashimoto said a stripped-back Games was a chance to refocus attention on the “true values” of the Olympics.

“In recent years when I was participating as an athlete, there were concerns that this (event) has become so huge,” she said.

“This time, I feel that the true values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are finally being discussed.”

Hashimoto rejected the suggestion that the complications of Tokyo 2020 might put off future hosts, as Olympic officials face a dwindling number of cities eager for the expensive undertaking.

“I see this as one opportunity to present the essence of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to change the format of the Games, so that other cities will be willing to hold the Games in the future,” she said.

It may not be a line that convinces everyone, with athletes facing tough restrictions including daily testing and a ban on travel except between venues and the Olympic Village.

Domestic opposition to the Games has softened in recent weeks, but around half of Japan’s public still don’t want the event to open in four weeks’ time, polls show.

On Saturday, a Ugandan Olympic coach tested positive on arrival in Japan, despite the team reportedly being vaccinated and testing negative before travel.

The rest of the delegation has now been put in quarantine until July 3.

The frantic pace of preparations may have taken its toll on Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, who has been admitted to hospital suffering from exhaustion.

Addressing fears of a fun-free Games, Hashimoto said hoped the Olympics would showcase Japan’s “culture of hospitality and caring about each other.”

“I hope such spirit of caring about each other, will become the legacy of the Games.”

AFP

Virus Vaccine Key For Olympics Go-Ahead In 2021 – Tokyo Chief

The Olympic Rings are pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020, as doubts increase over whether Tokyo can safely host the summer Games amid the spread of the COVID-19. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP.

 

The development of a coronavirus vaccine or treatment will be key to allowing the postponed Tokyo 2020 games to open in a year’s time, organising committee president Yoshiro Mori said Wednesday.

Asked what factors will be crucial for the rescheduled Games to go ahead, Mori said “it would be whether the coronavirus woe is settling down.”

“Specifically, the first point will be that a vaccine or drug has been developed,” he said in an interview with national broadcaster NHK, published Wednesday.

Asked whether Tokyo could hold the Games if the virus situation remained unchanged, Mori said: “If things continue as they are now, we couldn’t.”

But he said that scenario was hypothetical. “I can’t imagine a situation like this will continue for another year,” he said

Tokyo 2020 should have been opening on Friday, but the Games were postponed in March as the coronavirus spread across the globe, marking the worst disruption to an Olympics since two editions were cancelled during World War II.

 

 

Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara waves while holding an Olympic torch during a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP
File photo: Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara waves while holding an Olympic torch during a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch relay in Tokyo on February 15, 2020. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

The Games are now set to open on July 23, 2021, but recent polls have shown less public enthusiasm for hosting the event, as virus cases show a resurgence in Japan.

Just one in four people in Japan want to see the delayed Tokyo Games held next year, with most backing either further delay or a cancellation, according to a survey published by Kyodo News this week.

Most of those backing a delay or cancellation said they simply didn’t believe the pandemic could be contained in time for the Games.

Among the options that have been floated for a Games held during a pandemic is the possibility of limited spectators, or holding the event behind closed doors.

But Mori said reducing the number of spectators would be tough.

And he said holding the event without any fans was not an option for now.

“If it’s the only way to do it, then it’s something we’d have to consider. If that happens, there might be talk of cancellation,” he was quoted as saying, without elaborating.

With just over a year to go until the rescheduled Games, there are persistent doubts about whether the delay will be sufficient for the pandemic to be brought under control.

Japan has so far reported 26,300 COVID-19 cases with 989 deaths, but Tokyo has seen an increase in cases recently and the country’s borders remain almost completely sealed to overseas visitors.