Olympic silver-medallist Blessing Oborududu (68kg) won her 11th consecutive continental title, claiming gold in emphatic fashion at the 2022 African Wrestling Championships in El Jadida, Morocco, on a day Adekoye Jumoke (55kg) and the Adekuoroye sisters, Odunayo and Mercy, also impressively won gold for Team Nigeria in the Women Wrestling events.
After easily overcoming her opponents in the earlier rounds, Commonwealth champion Oborududu made light work of Egypt’s Menatalla Badran in the final, securing a 4-0 fall victory in just 40 secs to claim an 11th title in a row.
Before the final, the 33-year-old recorded back-to-back pin fall wins against Houria Boukrif of Algeria and Cameroon’s Blandine Ngiri in the first and second rounds respectively, before dominating Badran – whom she eventually conquered in the final – 10-0 via technical superiority in the 3rd round.
Oborududu overwhelmed Rosie Tabora of the Democratic Republic of Congo 10-0 via superiority in the semi-finals before clinching gold without conceding a single point.
On her part, world silver-medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye, who moved up to 59kg category, practically destroyed the field to claim a straight 7th African Championships gold.
Before overcoming Tunisia’s Siwar Bouseta 12-2 via superiority in the final, the back-to-back Commonwealth champion had beaten Atika El Asla 12-1, Bouseta 11-0 and Congo’s Parfaite Mambou 10-0 in the semi-finals.
On a day to remember for the Adekuoroyes, Odunayo’s younger sister Mercy won her first senior title, with victory in the 53kg class.
While leading 7-1 in the final, the former African cadet champion pinned Ivorian Nogona Bakayoko to win 9-1 and bolster the family’s legacy in the sport.
In the 55kg weight category, Jumoke Adekoye – who won gold earlier this month at the Gov. Diri National Wrestling Classics – handed Team Nigeria a 4th gold medal, with three round-robin wins against Morocco’s Zineb Hassoune (11-0), Fateh Hammami of Tunisia (13-2) and Louji Yassin of Egypt (10-0). It is also her first African title at senior level.
Having moved up to 76kg, African champion Hannah Reuben, however, settled for silver, after losing 5-1 to title-holder Samar Hamza of Egypt in the final.
Similarly, Team Nigeria’s Patience Opuene also won silver in the 62kg class, after losing to veteran and Olympic bronze-medallist Marwa Amri of Tunisia, who claimed a record 12th continental title in a row.
On a very fruitful day for Nigeria at the Championships, Ebi Biogos (72kg) and African champion Sunmisola Balogun (65kg) ensured all 8 wrestlers eventually paraded by the country in Women Wrestling won medals, both claiming bronze.
However, Team Nigeria surrendered the Women’s Team title to rivals Tunisia, who fielded a full team (of 10 wrestlers) at the tournament. The North Africans finished with 179pts to condemn Nigeria – winners of the Team title in the last 10 tournaments – to second with 170pts.
In the Freestyle events, which will take place on the final day of competition on Sunday, 22 May, 4-time African champion John Ogbonna (74kg), Commonwealth silver-medallist Ebikewenimo Welson (57kg) and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Ekerekeme Agiomor (86kg) will hope to win more laurels for Team Nigeria.