Women 59kg Freestyle wrestling gold medalist at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Odunayo Adekuoroye, in this interview with CHARLES OGUNDIYA said it has been interesting competing on the same mat with her sister Mercy Adekuoroye. Excerpts
Congratulations once again on your victory at the Commonwealth Games, how do you feel winning that precious gold medal?
Thank you; I feel so blessed, am very happy and fulfilled winning the gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. It is always a good thing to go out for competitions and get your hand on the medal; so I am grateful to God that I was able to defend the gold I won at the last Games in Gold Coast Australia.
What was the preparation like for you and your other teammates going to Birmingham?
The preparation was solid. I was invited home from Canada by the President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Hon Daniel Igali, to stay under the watch of my coach, Akuh Purity; even the president himself joined in coaching the team, we had the best training but I cried during some endurance sessions because it was too difficult and tedious, but thank God I didn’t give up, because it really helped me.
The gold at Birmingham, would you say it was a consolation for missing a medal at the last Olympic Games? Consolation?
Hmm! Well, I thank God, I can still admit it was a consolation for missing a medal at the last Olympic Games. It was a painful experience but I have gotten over it and am forging ahead because with God all things are possible.
You competed alongside your sister, Mercy, how did that feel?
It has been an experience for the two of us but it’s always good to see her getting better each day and trying her best to be the best. It’s a good thing seeing someone trying to be like you and who else if not my own sister? So, I am happy for her.
Would you say you are like an inspiration to her?
I serve as an inspiration to her; I am her role model as she really wants to be like me. Her target is to get as far as I have and probably do more, and I am encour-aging her all the way.
Did she decide to join wrestling because of you?
Yes, she decided to join wrestling because of me; she loves the way I wrestled to fame, the income even the way I travel round the world competing and bringing honour to the name of the family and also the country. She always wants to be like me especially winning medals in different competitions all over the world and she has been doing that; so far so good.
What is your parents’ reaction to seeing the two of you competing in the same sport?
Of course they are happy with what we have been doing, although it is difficult at times as parents seeing some people beating up your daughters, but they always look forward to the glory and that has been the motivation for us as children.
How has Canada been and your school?
Honestly Canada is good; the only challenge is the weather but I am coping now. It was very difficult when I first travelled there, the cold sometimes was too much, but I needed to get used to it and I have been able to get over it a little. With time I will get used to it fully. The most important thing is for me to face the reasons why I travelled there, do well in school and get better in my sport.
What would you say is your next target after the Commonwealth Games?
I am going to sit down with my coach and plan what to do next because we have to look at what is good for me and my career. By the way, I competed at the Islamic Solidarity Games and I won gold medal to defend my title.
So, you mean you won another gold just a few days after the Commonwealth Games, tell us about it?
I just want to be grateful to God because it is not my doing. He has always been there for me. The competition was supposed to be last year, but due to COVID-19, it was postponed to this year. This is the fifth edition and I was able to defend the title I won in 2017.