By Osa Okhomina, Yenagoa
The inaugural Baraza Champion of Champions wrestling tournament came to a thrilling climax on Monday in Yenagoa with Blessing Onyebuchi, Amas Daniel and teen-star, Mercy Adekuoroye claiming the last three gold medals at stake on the final day of the competition.
World beach wrestling champion, Onyebuchi, displayed absolute class and utter dominance to land gold in the 76kg class, her first tournament in almost a year, no thanks to Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2019 African champion recorded four consecutive pinfall victories, beating Rhoda Shonde 6-0, Dami Ojo 2-0 in just 56sec and Teme Deyei 6-0, before overpowering former African champion, Winnie Gofit of the Nigerian Army 6-0 in the final to claim gold, to the admiration of Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri, who graced the grand finale.
Speaking after her victory, Onyebuchi said the two weeks camping organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in December for Team Nigeria wrestling boosted her shape prior to the tournament, admitting that she did not plan to win all her fights via pitfall.
“In December, our President (Daniel Igali) called us for two weeks camping. That one really helped a lot, because the kind of training I had during the camping. I can say it has been like three months back since I had that kind of training back home,” she said.
“Honestly, that was not my plan. But initially, anytime I am wrestling like this, I normally like to finish my fight in the first round because in the second round, I don’t know what will happen. So, if I have my opportunity, I just take it.”
In the 53kg WW event, Mercy Adekuoroye, younger sister of Odunayo, caused a huge upset by defeating former African champion and favourite Bose Samuel to claim gold.
Adekuoroye, a former cadet African champion, showed great determination and resilience to record a shock 7-3 win against her more illustrious and experienced opponent in the final.
In the only Freestyle event on the final day, multiple African champion and Commonwealth silver-medalist Amas Daniel made a mincemeat of his opponents in the 65kg weight category to grab gold in emphatic and ruthless fashion.