Olympic silver medalist, Blessing Oborududu, African champions Hannah Reuben and Ogbonna John expectedly claimed gold on the final day of proceedings at the 1st Gov. Diri National Wrestling Classics in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The wrestling tournament recorded a major upset as youngster Stephen Simon dethroned 4-time African champion, Amas Daniel, on his way to winning his first senior national title.
Wrestling before an enthusiastic crowd and lots of dignitaries, which included Special Guest and Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, 10-time African champion, Oborududu survived an early scare to record an impressive 12-2 win via technical superiority against Team Delta’s Dumebi Ndah in the final of the 68kg women wrestling event.
Having taken the World No. 3 down after a tango, Ndah missed a great opportunity to pin Oborududu, with the Olympic silver medallist displaying agility and character to eventually prevail over Ndah via superiority.
In the 50kg women wrestling, Christiana Ogunsanya of Purity Club shocked Tokyo 2020 Olympian and teammate Adijat Idris (Ondo State) in the quarter-finals, on her way to claiming gold.
Ogunsanya was awarded the top prize after multiple African champion, Mercy Genesis of Team Bayelsa retired injured following a knee injury while trailing 2-0 in the final.
Meanwhile, in a battle of two heavyweights, African champion Hannah Reuben of the Nigerian Army prevailed 4-1 over Team Bayelsa’s Kemasuodei Dressman in the final of the 76kg class to land gold.
Similarly, in the freestyle events, 4-time African champion, Ogbonna John of Team Ondo gave himself a perfect birthday gift after securing a crushing 11-0 technical superiority win against Ugbo Kpun of Edo State in the 74kg class final.
On his part, Commonwealth silver medalist, Ebikewenimo Welson of hosts, Bayelsa State, dug deep to overcome Stephen Akintewe of Team Oyo 5-1 in the 57kg category final.
Perhaps the biggest cheer of the day will go to 2019 cadet national champion, Stephen Simon of Dynamite Club. After causing a huge upset against Commonwealth silver medalist, Amas Daniel in the semi-finals, the Bayelsa-born wrestler won a keenly-contested finale against Eighty Appau of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) 3-2 to clinch his first senior national title in the 65kg class.
Following their victories at the just-concluded 1st Gov. Diri National Wrestling Classics, the wrestlers have qualified to represent Team Nigeria at the 2022 African Championships in El Jadida, Morocco, which gets underway in a fortnight.