Tokyo Olympics: Nigeria guaranteed medal as Oborududu qualifies for wrestling final

Blessing Oborududu of Nigeria celebrates after defeating Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia during the Women’s Freestyle 68kg Semifinal at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She will face Tamyra Stock Mensah in the final. Photo: AFP

Commonwealth champion Blessing Oborududu on Monday made history as the first Nigerian to reach the final of a wrestling event at the Olympics, after recording an impressive 7-2 victory against London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia in a semi-final clash.


Oborodudu, a 10-time African champion, will face top seed Tamyra Stock Mensah of the United States in Tuesday’s 68kg women’s freestyle final, after the World champion overpowered Ukraine’s Alla Cherkasova 10-4 in the first semi-final.

Following her passage to the final, the 32-year-old is guaranteed a silver, at least – the first wrestling medal in the country’s history at the Olympics.

On her way to the final, Obourududu made light work of Elis Manolova in the round of 16, thrashing the Azerbaijani 13-2 via technical superiority, before securing a hard-fought 3-2 win against Meerim Zhumanazarova of Kyrgyzstan in the quarter-finals.

After a cagey opening moment in her semi-final bout against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, the energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.


A late fight back saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.

The 2nd seed Oborududu will renew her rivalry with old foe  Mensah, as they battle for the ultimate prize – gold medal, with the pair expected to get on the mat around 11.15am Nigerian time.

They last met at the 2019 World championships in Kazakhstan, with the American getting the better of Oborududu on her way to the title.

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