CALABAR : The Bayelsa-born wrestler, John Emmanuel has been ranked number one in the men’s 70kg freestyle by the United World Wrestling.
Emmanuel a two-time African champion, who retained his African title at the 2018 African Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt, becomes the first Nigerian man to reach the number one ranking in a long while.
The Bayelsa-born wrestler raked up 24 points and is closely followed by Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov with the same number of points while Ramadan Hussen of Egypt is ranked third with 22 points.
Nigeria’s Agiomor Ekerekeme is ranked third in the men’s 79kg freestyle after he won his first African title at the continental championships in Port Harcourt. He had 20 points to rank behind Uzbekistan’s Rashid Kurbanov and Ezzetollah Akabarizarinkolaei of Iran, who are first and second in the category.
In the men’s 86kg freestyle, Melvin Bibo missed the top spot by a point after gathering 23 points for winning the African title last month. Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran had 24 points to rank number one.
Amas Daniel is ranked fifth in the 65kg with 21 points. He is behind Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov, Daichi Takatani of Japan, Temurjon Usmonohunov of Uzbekistan and Bajrang Bajrang of India.
In the women wrestling rankings, Odunayo Adekuoroye is ranked seventh in the 57kg with 16 points. She is behind Xingru Pei of China, Sara Natami (Japan), Sae Nanjo (Japan), Battsetseg Altantsetseg (Mongolia), Yeseul Kim (Korea) and Tetyana Kit (Ukraine).
Her compatriot, Bisola Makanjuola, who also won her first African title in Port Harcourt, is ranked third in the 59kg with 18 points while Mercy Genesis is sixth in the 50kg. Blessing Oborududu is ranked fourth in the 68kg and Bose Samuel is sixth in the 53kg.
However Nigerian male wrestlers are not ranked in the top 10 in the Greco-Roman.
President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation Daniel Igali told our correspondent that the rankings showed that the country’s male wrestlers are improving, adding that the federation would continue to help them improve.
“It is nice to see our male wrestlers improve in the world rankings. It came as a surprise but it is a pleasant one. The women too are not relaxing and that also puts us in a good stead in the world. This is the result of regular competitions,” he said.