Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Oborududu lived up to the medal hype they had going into women’s Wrestling at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, delivering masterclass performances in their categories to win GOLD medals for Team Nigeria.
Both wrestlers were touted as favourites to win GOLD medals, and the moment they stepped on the mat to compete, it was evident that it would take an unprecedented upset to stop them from fulfilling that remit.
For Oborududu, she was the standout favourite coming into the Games, partly because she is an Olympic Silver medallist in the 68kg category, and also the defending champion from the 2018 edition in Australia.
She lived up to the expectation, defeating Canada’s Linda Morais 5-1 VPO1 (Victory by points – with point(s) scored by the opponent) to win her second consecutive GOLD medal competing at the Commonwealth Games.
Adekuoroye on her part, was looking to banish the demons of her loss in Tokyo last year. If she had learnt anything from that episode, it was not to underrate any opposition. The 57kg world number 3, kept her concentration, winning four consecutive fights to secure the GOLD medal in her event.
Just like Oborududu, she also secured VPO1 win, overcoming her Indian opponent Anshu Malik 7-3 to win the fight. Malik almost turned it around, bringing the tie to just two points, scoring 4 points at a stage in the fight to make it 6-4.
But Adekuoroye wasn’t going to let this moment slip, winning her third consecutive title at the Commonwealth Games since the first one she won eight years ago in Glasgow.
Young wrestler, Elizabeth Kolawole was left crying after her Bronze medal match, and although she needed just 20 seconds to beat her Scottish opponent Abbie Fountain, she rued her missed chance to win GOLD. Kolawole dispatched Fountain 10-0, winning by VSU (victory by Technical Superiority).
Nigeria won three medals at the start of wrestling competition, and with more fighters like Mercy Genesis yet to compete, there could be more medals in the offing