By Olayinka Elebute
The Africa/Oceania Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers earlier scheduled for El Jadida, Morocco have been moved to Tunisia by the United World Wrestling (UWW).
However, the competition will retain its original dates of 2nd to 4th April, 2021, but will now be staged in the Tunisian city of Hammamet, which hosted the 2019 African Championships.
In a related development, the African Championships earlier slated for 6th to 11th April, 2021 also in El Jadida, have been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date.
In a letter addressed to all the African and Oceania wrestling federations, the UWW said it “did not receive the expected guarantees and confirmations from the host country’s authorities that the entrance for all countries would be unrestricted” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Subsequently, the global wrestling governing body decided to award the hosting right for the Olympic qualifiers to Tunisia after the North African country “proposed to help by hosting this event”.
The UWW also encouraged the participating federations to “contact your travel agency in order to modify your flight tickets for Tunis”.
The governing body stated that Morocco will still retain the hosting right for the African Championships, adding that the proposed Elective Congress of UWW-Africa on 5th April has also been postponed.
“The 2021 African Championships and Continental Council Meeting will be postponed later in the year but should remain in Morocco,” part of the statement read.
Meanwhile, ahead the qualifiers, Team Nigeria athletes have continued preparations for the Olympic qualifiers in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Former World number one and back-to-back Commonwealth champion Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) is the only Nigerian wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Games, after she claimed bronze at the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.
But the Nigeria Wrestling Federation remains confident many more athletes can join her at the quadrennial global sports fiesta in Japan later this year.