Nigerian wrestlers preparing for the Africa/Oceania Tokyo Olympics qualifiers and Africa Wrestling Championships in Tunisia have expressed their frustrations on the clash in dates of the competitions with the 2020 National Sports Festival in Benin, the Edo State capital.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development released a statement last week Thursday, March 11, 2021, stating April 2 to 14 as the new dates for the 2020 sports festival, which is now the same date with the wrestling championships, scheduled for April 2 to 4.
The date above is very close to the 2021 African Championships which is billed for the same venue from April 6 to 11.
There is a total of 10 wrestlers whom are currently preparing for the Olympics qualifiers in Bayelsa and they are now due to miss out of the NSF.
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National wrestling team captain, Daniel Amas, has stated the clash of dates has placed athletes in a state of dilemma whether to choose between the qualifiers and representing their respective states.
“It is worrisome, but there is nothing we can do because of the clash. We had to take one, which is the qualifiers, a national assignment.
“No one will want to miss the Olympic qualifiers for the festival. I know they are all important because most athletes are state employees, but then, in everyone’s sporting career, the Olympics is very important.”
Commonwealth Games and African champion Aminat Adeniji said:
“Sometimes we don’t have control over what happens. I wouldn’t criticize the date of the festival because it’s an event everyone’s been waiting for. If it hadn’t clashed, we would attend both, but since it has, we will just have to do the right thing.
“It wasn’t easy picking one over the other because they’re both very important. It saddens me to have to let go of the festival for the Olympics qualifiers. I went for the qualifiers because it is more important for me. But to be candid, it would have been better if I attended both.”
According to the Punch, Four-time African champion Ogbonna John added,
“My aim is to qualify for the Olympics, I have the record as a sports festival champion, so I’m just looking forward to qualifying for the Olympics.”