Nigeria’s fast-rising wrestling sensation, Sunmisola Balogun has turned her attention to the forthcoming 2019 All Africa Games after winning gold medal at the just concluded Senior African Wrestling Championship held in Tunisia.
The Ondo state born athlete defeated Amina Ibrahim of Egypt, Amel Hammiche of Algeria in the first and second round, defeated Nour Jeljeli of Tunisia in the semi-final, before defeating Yvette Zie of Burkina Faso in the final of the 65kg to claim gold medal in her first senior category fight outside Nigeria.
In a chat with journalists, Balogun, who won gold medals at the 2018 Africa Youth Games (AYG) in Algiers and the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja, said she went to Tunisia determined to win a medal.
The 17-year-old is now looking forward to make the country proud at the 12th All African Games scheduled to take place in Rabat, Morocco from 19 August to 31 August 2019.
She said “When I was preparing for the African Wrestling Championship in Tunisia, I never thought I will compete at the senior category. But when I heard that I am going to compete at the Senior 65kg, I was a little bit panic. However, I said to myself ‘yes the time has come to prove myself that I can do it’. A lot of people encouraged me, especially my team mates, the Ondo State wrestlers. I promised myself to give out all my best, even more that 100 percent to perform well. My final against Yvette Zie of Burkina Faso was a very tough one and I won by 1-0. I never gave up one one point in about six minute on mat. I returned the glory to God almighty and those who still believe in me. I never dreamed about success, I worked for it. We just have to rest a little before resuming reaining ahead of other competitions. You know the All African Games is fast approaching too.”
Balogun thanked the Nigeria Wrestling Federation for supporting and encouraging the young wrestlers.
“I want to express my appreciation to the federation especially my coach, Purity Akuh who has continued to push us to success. He kept encouraging us during competitions by saying we have come here not to play but put in our best by more than 100 percent,” She added.