President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali has admitted that the standard displayed during the 19th National Sports Festival cannot be compared to the standard required to merit a medal at the Olympics.
According to Igali, the beauty of the competition was seen when some young wrestlers won medals, while some champions were dethroned due to their lack of preparation for the festival.
“It is therefore important for all the Nigerian wrestlers to keep on training, working hard and continue to improve, as he stressed that wrestling at the world stage is a different atmosphere where Nigerian wrestlers must compete against the best from other notable countries known in the world of wrestling and must beat formidable opponents to take the podium of success at the world championship and the Olympics.
“This tournament lived up to expectations, to his billing and i am very impressed. We had a lot of our national champions returning and they were some champions that were dethroned.” Igali said.
“What i did see was that because of the uncertainty surrounding the tournament, some of athletes were not as prepared as they would have normally be, but overall, i thought that we had a very tournament.
“Although the wrestling standard here cannot be used to judge the standard at the Olympics. At the Olympics proper, you must wrestle against wrestlers from top countries like Korea Republic, United States,Germany, Brazil and the rest of them and you must be able to defeat the very best in the world to win any medal.
“But what i really saw here impressed me. Some young wrestlers that i did not expect to win any medals at this competition became champions and some won medals.
“So, when some people wanted the festival to be restricted to the young ones alone, i did not support the idea. Let the competition be open. Of course you can have a festival for young people and still allow festival to be open to both the young and the old athletes to let it be more competitive.
“Some of the young athletes can defeat the more established ones and this is what happened at this tournament and when they go outside Nigeria to compete, it will be against the best from other countries.Therefore, it is great that the festival had no restrictions and I am very impressed with overall performance of the athletes,” he said.