Former Olympian and Wrestling boss, Daniel Igali, has urged former Nigerian athletes to engage themselves in the sports officiating business.
Igali described Lawrence Iquaibom’s presence at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games as one of the International Weightlifting Federation officiating officials from Nigeria as a good omen to the development of sports in the country,
The former wrestler who represented Canada and won a gold medal for the country at the Sydney Games in 2000, officiating at the international level ‘is a big boost.’
He told Iquaibom on Facebook:’ Really proud of you. In the next quadrennial, we have to work towards having officials at this level at every major sport. That’s the only way to go.’
The former national weightlifter, Iquaibom replied: ‘ Thank you Honourable! You’ve said it all, it’s the only way to go.’
As captain of the Nigerian wrestling team Igali came to Canada to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games. He remained in the country while seeking refugee status due to political unrest in Nigeria. He acquired citizenship in 1998.
In Canada, Igali won 116 consecutive matches wrestling at Simon Fraser University from 1997 to 1999. He placed fourth at the 1998 world championships. He finished second at the 1998 World Cup and won a bronze medal at the 1999 Pan American Games. He was coached by Nasir Lal, a two-time Canadian Olympian from Afghanistan.
At the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Igali won a gold medal in the Men’s 69 kg freestyle wrestling. He represented Canada at the world stage. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Igali won a gold medal in the Men’s 74 kg freestyle wrestling. In 2007, Igali was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
He was later inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012.