Nigeria on Monday was guaranteed its first medal at the Tokyo Olympics after Blessing Oborududu won her women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling semi-final match.
Her qualification assures Team Nigeria a silver or gold medal at the ongoing games.
The 32-year-old wrestler will face Tamyra Mensah-Stock of the US in the final, billed for Tuesday at a yet-to-be-fixed time.
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.
After a cagey opening moment in her semi-final bout against the 2015 World champion Soronzonbold, the energetic Oborududu burst into action, taking down the 31-year-old Mongolian thrice to eventually win the first round 7-0.
A late fightback saw Soronzonbold score two points, but Oborududu was never going to be denied a place in history as she ran out with a comfortable 7-2 win.
The second seed Oborududu will renew her rivalry with old foe Mensah, as they battle for the ultimate prize – gold medal.
They last met at the 2019 World Championships in Kazakhstan, with the American getting the better of Oborududu on her way to the title.
Reacting, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, described Oduduru as a blessing to Nigeria.
He said, “This is a real Blessing to Nigeria. Thank you Blessing for wiping away the pain of the near misses recorded in other events. Nigerians are proud of you.
“The display is typical of the never say die Nigerian spirit. Keep the tempo going until we reach the ultimate which is the gold. Don’t give up the fight until you re-write Nigerian Olympics history with a gold medal in the kitty.”