Naira rain for winners of Morris Atula invitational wrestling tournament

By Ifeanyi Eduzor

Winners of the recently concluded first edition of the Morris Atula wrestling championship have been rewarded handsomely to the tune of N1.5 million.
A breakdown of the monetary reward shows that gold medalists got a cash prize of N20,000 each while the silver and bronze medalists each went home with N15,000 and N10,000 respectively. All the athletes were also presented with certificates of participation.
The championship which has been hailed by wrestling stakeholders as a necessary platform for grassroots development of the mats man game in the country was held at the Gymnasium Hall of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, the Edo State Capital and attracted fighters from four states and two wrestling clubs namely; the host state, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Anambra, Atula and Onyebuchi Wrestling Clubs.
The championship provided action-filled
events as athletes squared off in different weight categories for senior and cadet levels for both male and females on the mat as wrestling officials, stakeholders and fans from across different parts of Nigeria watched.

After a series of big battles and a show of strength and resilience from the amateur wrestlers, Bright Irobekham from Edo state won gold in the 72kg male Greeco-Roman with Nnaemeka K.C. from Anambra State winning silver while Joseph Anthony from Delta claimed the bronze

In the 60kg, male Greeco/Roman, Dick Enenibodi from Edo state won gold
with ThankGod Destiny from the Atula Wrestling Club winning silver.

For the senior female category, Nwoye Ifeoma from Anambra State
took the gold while Juliet Amakoro from the Atula Wrestling Club won
silver with Kate Umunna from Edo State claiming the bronze.
In the 55kg weight category Ozioma Joseph of Delta State emerged victorious to claim the gold medal, Rita Odede of Edo State won Silver with Ayo Esewi of the Onyebuchi Wrestling Club walking away with the bronze while in the 57kg category Faith Esosuokpo finished first to win gold.

The Invitational Wrestling Championship also saw thrilling action from the cadet level where Olaye Mattew from Kogi State finished first in the 41kg weight category to win gold while Destiny Isa from Edo state claimed silver with Oriakhi Kelvin from the Onyebuchi Wrestling Club going home with the bronze medal.

Also In the 44Kg event of the cadet category, Akore Surly of Onyebuchi Wrestling Club won gold just as Godspower Steve and Kelvin Erhunwerie won silver and bronze respectively.

In the cadet male, Kingsley Tonye from Edo state claimed gold in the 33kg category with Atonwa Chukwuebuka from Anamba State winning silver and the bronze medal going to Alabi Osaretin of Kogi State while in the 30kg Iho Uhonoma representing Kogi State finished first, Osasuyi Osamwonyi from Edo State came second with Adodo Abraham claiming the third position.

At the end of the exciting tournament, Edo State fnished first in the overall medal table with
11 gold, 6 silver
and 2 bronze .
Anambra State finished second with 3 gold and 3 silver .
Kogi State went home with 3 gold , 1 silver and 3 bronze to finish third. Morris Atula Wrestling Club came fourth with 2 gold , 2 Silver and 1 bronze while Onyebuchi Wrestling Club won 1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze to finish fifth with Delta State finishing sixth with 1gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze.
Sponsor of the tournament who also doubles as Chairman of the Edo State Wrestling Association Morris Atula said the tournament was geared towards ensuring the full development of young people’s potential through the ‘catch them young’ project which the championship represents.
“The provision of strategic championship supportive networks and initiatives for character development, entrepreneurial activities, sports and community-based civic initiatives would enable us to achieve the needful” he further explained.
Atula a forme
World Light Heavyweight Champion also said the Championship is capable of producing the future champions of the mat sport from our part of the world nationally,ate continentally and even world champions.

“The objective of sports activities is not only to promote the potential of young people in this field but also to equip them with business skills and acquaint them with social, economic and environmental issues. This holistic approach aims to empower young people to assume a responsible role in their communities in the future. Through sports, many bridges can be built which promote collaboration and stimulate responsibility in communities. Sports are associated with an indisputably high social function like community leadership, community empowerment and sustainable development. In this way, newly acquired skills and talents can be reinvested in the community. Young people must be empowered through this project,” The Former Professional and one of the pioneers of professional Wrestling in Nigeria emphasised the emergence of new wrestling talents.
In their various remarks, wrestling stakeholders used the occasion to heap praises on Morris Atula for his singular efforts at developing the sports at the grassroots just as they charged other states to emulate him.
It would be recalled that the first edition which saw Ogiemwonyi ash Osaretin emerge as the overall winner and face of the championship took place last year accommodating only wrestlers from Edo State, but this edition becomes bigger with six teams and four states taking part in it.
Meanwhile Morris Atula has assured that the next edition will be held next year in Kogi State.

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