African Wrestling Championships: Bayelsa Govt., Army co-sponsor …

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the competition will hold from April 26 to April 30 in the North African nation.

The arrival date for participants is April 26, the weigh-in exercise will hold on April 27, while the competition proper begins on April 28.

The competition will also serve as qualifiers for the World Championships in Paris in August.

Daniel Igali, the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), told NAN on telephone that the Bayelsa Government had released some funds for the team’s participation.

“Yes, the Bayelsa Government has released money to accommodate all the athletes that qualified from the last championships in the state.

“And this extension is a major boost to the Nigeria Wrestling federation (NWF). The funds released so far by the Bayelsa Government will take care of 11 wrestlers and a coach.

“Gov. Seriake Dickson’s gesture shows that he’s a true Ijaw man for staying true to his words by supporting the athletes who have toiled, trained and qualified.

“I am so proud of the governor for his benevolence to the NWF. If he had not come with the support, we would have been practically stuck.

“By his action, he has shown that a wrestler is always a wrestler. He understands the frustrations associated with being abandoned.

“He kept to his words after the Gov. Dickson Classics that he will support the athletes who will qualify from that tournament to represent Nigeria; he came through with this sponsorship,’’ Igali said.

The Olympian added that not only did the governor sponsor the athletes; he has also directed his commissioner and director of sports to be in Marrakech to cheer the team.

“I am so proud and grateful to the “country man governor,’’ he said.

Igali expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who understood the importance of the tournament and duly ensured that some funds were released.

“I have never been disappointed by him. No matter what, he meets you halfway. He is a practical person.’’ he said.

Igali told NAN that the team has secured visas for about 15 athletes. We are working on five more visas.

“We can only confirm the final list based on what we get from the ministry. For now we are sure of 13 athletes for the trip.

“The Nigerian Army is supporting us too by sponsoring its two wrestlers who made the team.

“Yes, the minister has approved some funds but we have yet to receive funds from the ministry. We are still hoping.

“The minister will give directives. He is not the one that brings out the money for the trip. It’s now left to bureaucracy,’’ he said.

On when the team will depart for Morocco, Igali said some of the athletes would leave soon.

“Some will leave today and others on Wednesday based on visa and availability of funds.

“I can’t even give the full list yet because all has not been finalised,’’ he said.

Culled from here

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