New wrestling sensations are currently pulling their strings at the ongoing maiden edition of Wike National Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many new debutants are participating especially in the cadet and junior categories.
The Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) club team, which comprises of eight females, has six of them making their first appearances.
Also, Kano state came with quite a number of wrestlers who are making their first appearances at the national competitions.
Daniel Igali, the President, Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) said he was impressed with the debut of new wrestlers in the championship.
Igali told NAN that the debutants participation would boost the chances of Nigerian in the games nationally and internationally.
“I am very impressed with the number of new athletes we have in this tournament.”
“With these numbers of new entrants, we will be able to discover new talents. It gives more work for development to the coaches at the national level,” he said.
Purity Akuh, MFM coach said that the competition served as an avenue to expose the new wrestlers.
Akuh expressed confidence about their skills, adding that they have the quality to win gold medals.
“I believe in each of them and they have also given me their words to give the competition their best,” he said.
10 year old, Solomon Lawrence of M & J Leaders Academy, Kano is making his debut in the cadet category at the tournament.
“I have trained and prepared for this competition. I trained three times a week. My parents are very supportive and encouraged me a lot,” he said.
On his absence in school because of the competition, Lawrence said that his teachers would give him special consideration.
“My teachers are fully aware of me participating in this competition. When I get back to Kano, my teachers will teach me all that was taught while I was away,” said Lawrence.
Another first timer, Ameachi Anyigor of Community School Ebonyi, who is representing Sokoto state, said that he fell in love with wrestling at an early stage.
Anyigor said that he had always looked forward to competing on the mat.
“I have been looking forward to this day a very long time ago and I am glad it’s finally here.
“I am glad to be representing a state and my target is clinching the gold medal in my weight category.
“I know it won’t be an easy task, but I’m fully prepared to wrestle,” he said.
NAN reports that the championships started on Nov. 23 with 22 states participating.
The states are Jigawa, Kano, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Ebonyi, Delta, Edo, Niger, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kogi, Osun, Ondo, Anambra, Enugu, Lagos, Bauchi, Ogun, Sokoto, Katsina and Kebbi.
Other participants include the Nigeria Army, MFM, Federal Capital Territory, the Nigeria Navy, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigeria Police.
Others are Bi-Chizon Wrestling Club, Jude Amadi Club, Purity Wrestling Club, Gateway Club, Dynamite Club, Spider Club and Rowpack Club.
All the participants converged on the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Centre, Port Harcourt the venue of the five-day competition.