• Odunayo Adekuoroye has qualified for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
  • She booked her place at the Olympics after winning the bronze model at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan.
  • She joins the list of Nigerian representatives at the 2020 event.

Odunayo Adekuoroye has secured her place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The Nigerian freestyle wrestler (57kg) qualified for the international sporting event after defeating North Korea's In Sun Jong in the quarterfinals during the recently concluded 2019 Senior World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

This will be her second time at the Olympics. She initially competed at the 2016 edition where she was defeated in the quarterfinals by Sweden’s Sofia Mattsson.

Nigerian freestyle wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye secures her place at the 2020 Olympics (brila)
Nigerian freestyle wrestler Odunayo Adekuoroye secures her place at the 2020 Olympics (brila)

The next day, the World No. 3 in the 57 kg category won a bronze medal after beating Moldova's Anastasia Nichita 10-0 via technical superiority. 

After her victory, the 25-year-old athlete told United World Wrestling, “As you can see, we (Nigeria) came here with five girls and a male, who hasn’t got any medal, so it was like I really needed to make my country proud.

"I am so very happy because everyone is my fan and they have been wishing me well even before I qualified. So I am so very glad that I did not put them to shame. I’m happy. For my coach, Akuh Purity, I know he is proud of me now, and I am so very proud of him for training me,” she added.

She also dedicated her bronze medal to the memory of her late sister-in-law who passed on recently.

“Just two days ago I received the news that my brother’s wife died, so I was crying before the fight. The husband called me that the only gift I can give her is for me to wrestle well and dedicate the medal to her. May her soul rest in peace, I dedicate my medal to her,” she said. 

ALSO READ: Nigerian athlete Tobi Amusan sets new record at 2019 African Games

Adekuoroye now boasts of three medals from the championships — the new bronze medal along with silver and bronze medals from the 2015 (U.S) and 2017 (France) editions.  

She later suffered a 6–1 semifinal loss to the two-time World and Olympic champion Risako Kawai of Japan.  

Her fellow Nigerian wrestlers, Aminat Adeniyi and Blessing Onyebuchi, were unable to get their tickets to the Olympic Games at the same event. 

Adeniyi (62kg) lost to Ukraine’s Yulia Ostaphchuk while Onyebuchi (76kg) lost to China’s Qian Zhou.

Adekuoroye joins 17-year-old Ayomide Bello, who recently became Nigeria’s first female Canoeist to qualify for the Olympics, and D’Tigers of Nigeria - Africa’s sole representative in the men’s basketball event of the 2020 Summer Olympics.