Tokyo 2020: Adekuoroye Dispels Pressure, Confident Of Podium Finish

Tokyo 2020: Adekuoroye Dispels Pressure, Confident Of Podium Finish

Reigning Commonwealth champion Odunayo Adekuoroye says she is not under any form of pressure ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan, and remains confident of claiming a historic gold medal for Nigeria in wrestling.

The 3-time World Championships medalist Adekuoroye and four other Nigerian wrestlers will be attempting to do what none of their compatriots have been able to do at the Games previously – winning an Olympic medal.

Having established herself globally as one of the best wrestlers in the 57kg category, expectations are high that the 27-year-old would deliver Nigeria’s first-ever wrestling medal in Tokyo.

Such expectations usually come with pressure, however, the 6-time African champion says she is physically and mentally ready for the Games, adding that she enjoys a huge support from her team in camp.

“I don’t have any pressure going to the Olympics, I’ve been to the Olympics before (in Rio 2016),” the former World No. 1 said.

“I’ve trained physically. Mentally, I have trained myself. And my coach has been on me every time. Even the President (Daniel Igali) still comes to our training just to teach me some things.

“So, having an Olympic champion (Daniel Igali) in my gym, having a world-class coach (Purity Akuh), and my training partners are doing brilliantly well. So, I don’t have any pressure going to the Olympics.

“I believe by the special grace of God, it’s my time to shine. So, I will definitely bring gold to Nigeria by His grace.”

In readiness for the Tokyo Games, Adekuoroye won gold at the Poland Open Ranking Series tournament last month, impressively demolishing World and Olympic champion Helen Maroulis of USA 13-0 via technical superiority on her way to landing the 57kg top prize.

The 2-time Commonwealth champion says her performance at the Poland Open inspires the confidence needed to excel in Tokyo.

“For me, it’s like a pre-tournament for the Olympic Games,” she said. “Doing well in Poland gives me more confidence going to the Olympics.

“At least, most of the wrestlers I may wrestle with in the Olympics, I wrestled against them in the Poland Ranking Series, So, it’s a very good tournament for me. For like a year plus, I’ve not been to any international competition (due to Covid-19).

“So, going to Poland Ranking Series and performing excellently well is a very good competition for me ahead of Tokyo.”

The Tokyo 2020 Games will run from 23 July to 8 August, with wrestling scheduled for 1 – 7 August, 2021.



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1 comment

Ben Alaiya July 26, 2021 at 1:20 pm

Sports Minister Dare endears himself to Team Nigeria athletes
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth, Sports, and Social Development Sunday Dare has become a beacon of hope to Team Nigeria athletes at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
The energetic Sports Minister has shown his passion since stepping into the Land of the Rising Sun, ensuring that he watches and cheers Nigerian athletes in their events. In most cases, he’s the lone voice armed with his Green-White-Green flag, urging the athletes on.
The past 24 hours of the Olympics was not a particularly good one for Team Nigeria with her athletes losing out in their respective events, from taekwondo to table tennis, and gymnastics. The Minister has, however, remained stoically behind the athletes, bringing to fore Henry Ford’s saying that failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
At Elizabeth Anyanacho’s fight, where she lost 12-7 to double Olympic medallist and former world champion, Nur Tartar of Turkey, the Minister hailed her courage for a debutant in the Olympics to fight with so much vim and vitality.
“You’ve done well against a world champion. Keep your focus. The world will soon rise to salute you in the near future,” he was heard telling the 22-year-old taekwondoist after her loss.
When Nigeria’s remaining competitor in the women’s table tennis single’s event Offiong Edem lost, Dare was on hand to console her saying, “you exhibited strength and talent. Nigeria thanks you for making the country proud at the Olympics.”
Amid the tumultuous Tokyo Olympics greatly affected by Covid-19, where athletes have seen their training and competition schedules affected and fans shut out from events, Sports Minister Dare has brought so much hope and confidence to Nigerian athletes.
No doubt, Team Nigeria can never forget the importance of discipline, athlete’s welfare priority brought by Dare and the importance of connecting us as a people and building a winning culture of communication, trust and teamwork.

Anyanacho’s Olympic dream ends in tears as minister consoles her

Elizabeth Anyanacho suffered a blow in her quest for an Olympic medal in the early hours of Monday against a much matured and experienced double Olympic medallist, Nur Tartar of Turkey.
Tartar showed class and applied experience winning 12 – 7 against the Nigerian debutant who proved that the future belongs to her with a performance that stunned many who could not believe she was fighting in her first Olympics.
The defeat left the 22-year-old Anyanacho gutted and she could not help but to succumb to crying.
Sports Minister Sunday Dare and Chika Chukwumerije were on hand to console her. A flicker of hope rose for the Nigerian from the rule books to get a chance to fight again if her conqueror gets to the final. That hope, though, did not last long as the Turk was kicked out by an American who was menacing all through handing her a bitter defeat without a point.
Chukwumerije, a 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist in taekwondo, who has been the driving seat of Anyanacho’s meteoric rise in the sport, was not totally disappointed with her loss.
“She’s been crying. That shows she badly needed victory,” he said. “In all, her target is now focused for Paris. Between now and three years, she would matured. She has gotten an Olympic experience,” added Chukwumerije, referring to the 2024 Olympics in the French capital.
Chukwumerije himself lost his first Olympics outing in Athens in 2004 but came back smoking in Beijing four years later, kicking his way to a bronze medal.
“Same thing happened to me. I fell into depression after my first loss but luckily, she has people guiding her. It’s a big stage and she has all it takes to now put this defeat behind and show what she has,” Chukwumerije said.


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