By Albert Akota
President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Daniel Igali has expressed total dissatisfaction with the level of funding of the sporting federations in Nigeria calling on all relevant sporting authorities as well as the governments, private and corporate sector to engage in the funding of wrestling and other sports.
Over the years, wrestling and other sports in the country have been under-funded leading to the failure of some sporting federations to send their athletes to major tournaments abroad.
In a chat with NWF media, the World and Olympic wrestling champion said proper funding of sports in Nigeria will aid in the enhancement of the country’s image before the International Community and also help the athletes realize their full potentials, which among other things include producing Olympic medallists.
The vice president of the Commonwealth Wrestling Board also warned that wrestling might just be a ‘recreational sports’ if it is not properly funded.
“I will still harp on the funding issues; as one of the premier sports in the country, funding is becoming a major impediment,” the Bayelsa State Lawmaker said. “If we continue at this rate, we may as well just be doing recreational sports.
“It is very frustrating to see athletes who can win medals at the Olympics but their goal is being retarded because of funding. In a country as rich as this, in a country that has people who proffer to be sports lovers, to see that we probably just need very little (funding) from the individuals in that capacity to get these our athletes to be firing from all cylinders, and it is not happening is very frustrating.
“And I really want to use this opportunity to appeal to Local governments, State governments, the Federal government, private individuals and corporations to look at sports beyond the face value, but to look at sports as a veritable tool to enhance our status at the international level as a country because we don’t have the best public relations as a country.”
The NWF boss also believes wrestling; if well-funded, will help boost the image of Nigeria abroad.
“Sports, arts, music are the only things people know outside of Nigeria about Nigeria, and let’s try as much as we can to project sports. And wrestling is probably that sports that we need to put funds into to give us the needed awareness at the global level.”