Nigerian female soldier Gofit Winnie did wondrously at the African Wrestling Championships in Morocco on Saturday, winning a gold medal in the 75 kilogram event of the Women Freestyle Wrestling Competition.
She is only one of several gold medals won by the Nigerian contingent at the championships over the weekend. Nigerian female wrestlers alone won six gold medals and two silver medals over the weekend. Mercy Genesus, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Aminat Adeniyi, Blessing Oborududu and Kemeasuodei Dressman all brought home gold medals for Nigeria, although they were all in lower weight classes than Winnie. Bose Samuel and Bisola Makanjuola were the Nigerian silver medalists among their female contingent. Considering that Nigeria only sent eight female wrestlers, the fact that all of them earned a spot on the medal stand is truly outstanding and a sign of Nigerian dominance in the sport of wrestling, at least on the feminine side.
Winnie has experience in this competition, having won gold medals in both wrestling and judo in the 75 kilogram category. Nigeria Wrestling Federation president Daniel Igali gushed at Winnie’s performance, calling it a “fantastic result overall.” As for the female group’s performance at a whole, he noted that the women soldiers were confident going in, having guaranteed at least five gold medals. So the final tally of six meant that he was “impressed” with the results.
The Nigerian males had a rougher go of it, but still brought home two gold medals of their own at the championships. Ogbonna John won at 70 kilograms, defeating last year’s champion in that weight class, Tunisian Maher Ghanmi. Soso Tamarau, who has represented Nigeria in the Olympics, won his second title at 97 kilograms in a victory over South African Martin Erasmus. Amas Daniel was a favorite to a bring a third gold medal for Nigeria in the men’s division, but he lost to Ivorian Bopamda Ngoy after a struggle with illness going into the match.