World silver medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye alongside Blessing Oborududu, and Aminat Adeniyi will today take to the mat in their quest for honours and world ranking points at the first of two United World Wrestling (UWW) Ranking Series events, the Matteo Pellicone.
The team which, arrived in Rome yesterday will today compete in the 57kg, 60kg, 68kg and 70kg of the women’s freestyle event which has six of the 10 world champions in action.
The four-day tournament kicked off yesterday in Ostia, a port city of ancient Rome, located 30km away from the city center.
In Adekuoroye’s weight category (57kg), the African champion will have to contend with world champion – Canada’s Linda Moraisas well as Russia’s Inna Trazhukova. Morais, who won gold in 2019 at 59kg. She will fight in the 57kg.
In early December, Morais defeated compatriot’s Hannah Taylor in two consecutine matches at the Canada Wrestling Trials and will be Canada’s starter for the 2020 season. The addition of Morais bolsters a weight class that now features three-time world and Olympic champion Japan’s Risako Kawai and China’s Rong Ningning, who fell short of defending her 2018 world title in this year’s gold-medal bout. Although Kawai won’t be in action in Rome, Rong will.
Another star that competed at 59kg in Kazakhstan, India’s Pooja Dhanda, will also be making her descent down to 57kg. Dhanda was a bronze medalist at 57kg back in 2018 but moved up to 59kg in 2019, where she finished in fifth place at the World Championships. Also in the field at 57kg are past world medalists Hungary’s Emese Barka, Ukraine’s Iryna Chykhradze Khariv and United States’ Allison Ragan.
Amidst the array of stars, Adekuoroye who is also a title contender will battle other 22 wrestlers in her bid to make the podium.
Also today, Aminat Adeniyi will contend with 19 others in the 62kg while 10-time African champion, Oborududu will slug it out with 18 other title contenders in the 68kg.
Tomorrow, Mercy Genesis and Blessing Onyebuchi will compete for honours in the 50kg and 72kg.
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali is expected to be at the ring size as coach after an incident prevented the chief coach, Purity Akuh from making the trip to Italy.