World No. 1 female wrestler, Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) has called on parents and guardians not to discourage their wards, especially female ones from participating in sports.
Sportinglife.ng reports that the world wrestling silver medalist made the appeal while sharing her experience at this year’s International Women’s Day programme tagged “Enhancing the value of Women in Sports” held in Lagos .
According to the five-time African champion, children who engage in sports have advantages over those that are prevented from doing sports.
“I will like to advocate allowing female child to participate in sports.
“The advantages of doing sports are enormous. Kids that are actively involved in sports are assured of better health, fewer chronic illnesses, and reduced risk of obesity.
“While I was in school I joined sports because I just wanted to travel out of Akure where we live. I remembered when my coach followed me home to tell my parents how important it is for me to participate in sports. My father told my coach no, she gets sick every time, that she cannot do any sports, she is not strong enough. When my father asked which sport and he answered wrestling, both my parents shouted.
“Thank God for my coach, he was able to convince them. When I started active sport I stopped getting sick, I became stronger and I get to travel everywhere in Nigeria, Africa and around the world as I had dreamt of.
I thank God today I am a national champion, African champion, commonwealth champion, rated number one in the world,” the two-time Commonwealth gold medalist said.
Other speakers at the event organized by Ladies in Sports International, an organization established to celebrate and improve Women’s sports and Women in sports globally, include: Former track and field star, Falilat Ogunkoya; Paralympian, Folashade Oluwafemiayo and 100/200m athlete, Joy Udo-Gabriel.