.Talks with ministry end in deadlock
The hope of Nigeria making an impact at the forthcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games billed for Australia between 4 and 15 April 2018 is in serious jeopardy as the National Wrestling Team has vowed to continue with the boycott of their training camp in protest of the nonpayment of their accumulated allowances for various African and International Wrestling Championships.
Wrestling is one of the sports that guarantees medals for the country at the Gold Coast event and the athletes are supposed to have returned to camp in Bayelsa following the conclusion of the African Wrestling Championship, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from 7th to 11th February where the country emerged the overall winner.
The athletes through their representatives Amas Daniel (male captain) and Blessing Oborududu (female captain) had written
to the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, stating reasons for taking such drastic action, claiming they are being treated as second class citizens in the country
The letter dated 17th, February, 2018, jointly signed by the two athletes read, “We wish to inform you that we are boycotting the commonwealth camp due to non-payment of our allowances as promised.
“The Afro basketball were received by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari.
It is no news that the home based Eagles who won silver in Africa are being scheduled to see the President on the 28th of this month. What news”
“…We dominated Africa in 2017 in Morocco; we won a silver medal at the World Championship in France and recently dominated Africa again in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. As we speak, we are yet to be paid our allowances for the African Championships.
“It appears that we are being treated as second-class citizens in Nigeria. Our good performances are yet to be appreciated. These are the reasons why we have taken this decision,” part of the letter read.
However, a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports on the issue on Friday night in Bayelsa ended in a deadlock.
In her reaction to the meeting on her Facebook page, World Wrestling Silver medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye said; “I feel sad tonight. I felt the issue of wrestlers’ welfare would be resolved tonight. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more likely that I and my fellow team mates may not participate at the Commonwealth Games. It saddens me…”
Some of the athletes, who later spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no going back as they have resolved to continue to stay away from training to press home their demands.
When contacted, the President of Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali assured that the issue will soon be resolved.
“We are still in the process of resolving the issue. Yesterday night they were not able to resolve it but as at this morning they have gotten to a certain level. I appreciate the ministry of Youth and Sports, especially the permanent secretary for personally coming down to meet with the athletes and to resolve grey areas. I am sure that by his humane gestures, most of the issues surrounding athletes’ welfare will be resolved as soon as possible,” Igali told NationSport.