Igali raises alarm as Turkey denies Nigerian wrestlers visas for qualifier
NOC banks on Okagbare, U-23 to recreate Atlanta ’96
President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali, has raised the alarm following the refusal of the Turkish Embassy in Abuja to grant entry visas to the country’s athlete and coach billed to participate in the final Rio 2016 Olympics qualifier in that European country.
Igali told The Guardian that he was in the embassy for two days trying to secure the travelling documents for Onyebuchi Blessing, a 75kg woman wrestler and Coach Victor Kodei, who were scheduled to attend the qualifiers, which holds from today to May 8.
“I am just leaving the Turkish Embassy in Abuja after two days of trying without success to get visas for Onyebuchi Blessing 75kg female wrestler and Coach Victor Kodei, who were scheduled to attend the last Olympic Wrestling qualifying tournament in Istanbul from May 6 to 8.
This has sadly brought to an end all the efforts of an athlete who worked so hard for an opportunity to attempt to qualify for the Olympics and become an Olympian for her country.
“That Turkey of all countries can deny visas to Nigerian athletes after fulfilling all laid down protocols is humiliating. I will be sending a strongly worded protest letter to both the UWW and IOC regarding this Olympic disenfranchisement,” a sad Igali said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) along with potential sponsors and other stakeholders say they foresee a surprise performance by the Nigerian team at the Games.
“In fact, we foresee Team Nigeria performing better than the team that we took to the Atlanta ’96 Games because we have got the talent and officials to help redefine Nigerian sports, especially as we are not going to the January Nations Cup,” NOC President, Mallam Habu Gumel, said in a statement yesterday.
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