President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Dr Daniel Igali was on Friday, September 9, elected member of the world highest wrestling governing body, the United World Wrestling (UWW).
The United World Wrestling (UWW) is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling. Its duties include overseeing wrestling at the Olympics. It also presides over international competitions for various forms of wrestling — Greco-Roman wrestling, Freestyle wrestling, Grappling, for men and women, as well as others.
Igali, who doubles as the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, topped the poll of 17 contestants with 83 votes.
He was elected at the 2022 congress of the United World Wrestling held at Belgrade, Serbia.
The election was held to pick seven members out of a pool of 17 contestants for a term of five years. Out of the seven successful members, four — Theodoros Hamskos, Karl-Martin Dittmann, Rodika Yaksi and Namig Aliyev — were re-elected while three are new members. The new members include Daniel Igali, Razvan Pircalabu and Zhang Ye.
After the elections, an elated Igali took to his Facebook page to break the good news. He said, “Yesterday, 9th September, 2022, I was unanimously elected as a member of the United World Wrestling Bureau. To be chosen by your peers to represent the sports at the highest level is the greatest honour outside of participating on the mats.
“I hope to work with the team headed by President Lalovic to actualize the goal of spreading the gospel of man’s oldest sport across the globe” he said.
Expressing his gratitude to everyone who played one role or the other in his victory, Igali thanked the president of the UWW, Nenad Lalovic and all bureau members, all continental presidents and delegates from all countries that attended the congress. He particularly expressed gratitude to the President – UWW Africa, Fouad Meskout and all the delegates from Africa.
He was also full of praise to Chief Sunday Dare, Minister of Sport; Habu Gumel, NOC President, the Nigeria Wrestling Federation. Of course, he did not leave out Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Deputy Governor, both of whom he said played a major role in making the victory possible. He prayed God to bless them, adding that he is truly humbled.
The congress, which was attended by 106 countries, was declared open by President of the United World Wrestling, Nenad Lalovic, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board.
In his opening remarks, Lalovic urged members to remain united and work towards Olympic solidarity. He further said, “We as sports lose in such [conflict] situation,” Lalovic said. “Our family is not about politics but about wrestlers and fans. So we should remain united.
“Our athletes promote peace around the globe. We had problems in the past but we hope our medals will shine in the right way.”
Amongst other things, the congress discussed the improvement of wrestling, via youth engagement, women’s wrestling, associated styles, the image of wrestling and digital transformation.
The congress emphasized that to continue on their goal to be self-reliant they needed overall growth with more sponsors, and engagement and take wrestling to regional and local levels.