Three-time Commonwealth champion, Odunayo Adekuoroye, is keen to secure her first Olympic medal when she makes her third appearance at a Games in Paris next year.
Adekuoroye qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics by winning the bronze medal in women’s 57kg at the World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September.
The 30-year-old won her third-place fight against Elvira Kamaloglu, defeating her Turkish opponent 9-5 to secure a spot for Paris.
Her journey at the Wrestling Champions began with a confident 9-7 points win over world No.4, Brazil’s Guilla Olivera in the round of 16 as she picked up the Brazilian and slammed her on the mat to win their 57kg bout at the World Wrestling Championships.
Adekuoroye, ranked 22, was then defeated by former world no.1 India’s Sarita Mor by 6-4 points in the quarterfinals but she then won the repechage to finish third.
The Ondo native, who buried her mum on December 9, has already set her focus on claiming the elusive medal in France after disappointments in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
“It will be my third Olympic Games. Winning at the Olympic Games will be a huge success for me and I’ll work hard and give it all within me to make sure I’m on the podium come Paris 2024 because I have worked hard to be there and I deserve to come away with something this time.
“I am going to sit down with my coach and plan what to do at this competition because I am tired of missing out and I have extra hunger now,”
Wrestling icon, Blessing Oborududu, who won Nigeria’s first and only medals in wrestling competition after winning the silver medal in the women’s 68kg at the Tokyo 2020 Games, is still hopeful of securing a spot at the Summer Games.
At the World Wrestling Championships, she failed to get on the podium, thereby missing out of a slot at the Olympics, but according to Nigeria Wrestling Federation board member, Adewale Adeniyi, more Nigerian wrestlers will qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Adeniyi maintained that there is no cause for alarm, despite just one wrestler, Adekuoroye, the only one through to the Games, as he said there are still two more pre-Olympics qualifiers, where he hopes more Nigerian male and female wrestlers will qualify.
“I am very sure there will be one (championships) in March in Egypt and those of our athletes who did not get the ticket, would have the opportunity to do so,” he said.