Blessing Oborududu, the female wrestler representative, has moved on to the semi-final in wrestling.
From booking her slot in the semi-finals of the women’s wrestling event at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics to being an Olympics finalist sent a wave of joy to Nigerians as they recovered from the loss of the men’s 100meters race.
For the last 11 years, Oborududu had bagged a gold medal except for 2012 when she did not qualify for the finals at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She competed at the freestyle 63 kg event and was eliminated in the 1/8 finals by Monika Michalik.
There’s hope for Nigeria to either have a silver or gold medal winner in Tokyo Olympics with her qualification.
Oborududu qualified by winning a 7-2 against Battsetseg Soronzobold of Mongolia to reach the final of the 68kg. Along her journey, She had conquered Azerbaijani’s Elis Manolova and Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan to step into her first Olympic semi-final.
African champion Blessing Oborududu, a Nine-time champion, had recently improved her World ranking to number three in the Women’s 68kg weight class. This ranking improvement happened after her bronze medal feat at the recently concluded Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series tournament in Rome, Italy.
In her interview with The Punch News Paper before she competed in the Olympics game, she shared her story.
Wrestling didn’t just happen overnight. It started way back in her days at Saint Jude’s Girls Secondary School Amaratan, Yenagoa in Bayelsa State. Before that, she had loved wrestling as a heritage in the Niger Delta. Wrestling has to be her thing right from the onset.
The then President of NWF discovered her talent in wrestling, Chief Austin Edeze, the state Director of Sports, Mr. Jackson Bidei and the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) officials during her school’s Inter-House Sports competition at Saint Jude’s Secondary School in 2006.
They were invited to witness her prowess, a rising skilled wrestler that was beating all her opponents. They were thrilled and promised to invite her to camp.
In 2006, she was invited to the National Sports Festival (NSF) in Ogun State, the Gateway Games, by Bidei to the camp to represent Bayelsa State.
When she was asked if Nigeria can win the gold, she said, “Yes, we can if we don’t joke with our preparation. So with good preparation, wrestling can fetch us an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo this year”. Indeed we are here to witness this history.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, referred to Oduduru as a blessing to Nigeria. There is a lot of talent in Nigeria, both discovered and yet to be discovered. It is quite awesome to see that they are making waves and representing us remarkably. He also said, “This is a real Blessing to Nigeria. Thank you, Blessing, for wiping away the pain of the near misses recorded in other events. Nigerians are proud of you”.
Oborududu is to meet with her rival, Mensah, who, when they last met at the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan, overpowered Oborududu to bag the ultimate prize. Here they meet again to battle for the peak prize, the gold medal. The battle is meant to be settled on the mat by 11.15 am Nigerian time.
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