Commonwealth champion Blessing Oborududu on Tuesday won a silver medal in the women’s 68kg freestyle wrestling event, losing to reigning world champion Tamyra Mensah-Stock of the United States 4-1 on points.
Oborududu’s loss, notwithstanding, she made history as the first wrestler representing Nigeria to win a medal at the Olympics, a feat that was already assured after the 32-year-old recorded an impressive 7-2 victory over London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia in the semi-final.
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.
Oborududu, seeded second in her weight division behind Mensah-Stock, also lost to the American at the 2019 World championships in Kazakhstan, with Mensah-Stock getting the better of Oborududu on her way to the title.
Former Olympic and Commonwealth freestyle wrestling champion, and current president of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, was the only other Nigerian to have won an Olympic medal in wrestling before Oborududu’s feat, but Igali did it in the colours of Canada, wining gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.