The impressive feat recorded by 68kg wrestler, Blessing Oborududu on Monday in the semifinal of the wrestling event at the ongoing Tokyo Olympic Games has been described as a blessing to Nigeria. Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, shortly after the historic feat said: “You are a Blessing to Nigeria and Nigeria’s Athletics family. Team Nigeria is proud of you.
Nigerians are proud of you.” “The display is typical of the never-say-die Nigerian spirit. Keep the tempo until we reach the ultimate, which is the gold.”
Oborududu on Monday made history as the first Nigerian to reach the final of a wrestling event at the Olympics, after recording an impressive 7-2 victory against 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia, in the last four clash.
Oborududu, 10-time African champion, will now face top seed Tamyra Mensah in Tuesday’s final, after the American World champion overpowered Ukraine’s Alla Cherkasova 10-4 in the first semi-final.
Following her passage to the final, the 32-year-old is guaranteed a silver, at least – the first wrestling medal in the country’s history at the Olympics.
On her way to the final, Oborududu made light work of Elis Manolova in the round of 16, thrashing the Azerbaijani 13-2 via technical superiority, before securing a hard-fought 3-2 win against Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan in the quarterfinals.
After a rather tight and shaky start in the semis against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.
A late fight back saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.
Oborududu, number two seed, will renew her rivalry with old foe Mensah, as they battle for the ultimate prize – gold medal, with the pair expected to get on the mat around 11.15am Nigerian time.
They last met at the 2019 World championships in Kazakhstan, with the American getting the better of Oborududu on her way to the title. Oborududu’s feat was a relieve for Team Nigeria after a slow start to the games.