Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye, has revealed that she was almost disowned by her parents because of her love for wrestling.
Adekuoroye’s wrestling journey began at a young age in secondary school, but while she wanted to become the best in the sport, she found it difficult to inform her parents about it.
The World Championships silver medalist, who gave up track and field for wrestling, said she lied to her parents in order to attend her first wrestling competition.
“For my first competition, I told my parents I am going to school, but I left with the wrestling team. When I didn’t come back, they were worried and went looking for me everywhere, at the police station. Later I called them. I told them I am fine and I was at a wrestling competition,” she told Olympic Channel.
“When we returned from the competition, I couldn’t go home, my dad warned me against coming back to his house. They didn’t want me to wrestle. We disagreed.
“It took the intervention of wrestling officials and my coach Akuh Purity. They went and pleaded with my parents. That’s when my coach said he would pay for my school fees if they hand me over to him, and allow me do sports. I think just because they wanted me to go to school they released me. After that, I lived with him (coach) for nine good years,” she added.
Adekuoroye has gone on to become one of the globally recognised wrestlers in the world, winning gold medals at two Commonwealth Games at the 2014 edition in Glasgow and the 2018 event in the Gold Coast, while also winning medals at the last three Wrestling World Championships in Paris (2015), Las Vegas (2017), and Nur-Sultan in 2019.
The Nigerian also made an appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, where she was defeated in the quarter-finals by Swede Sofia Mattsson, but she is hopeful of winning a medal at the 2020 Olympics next year.
“I want to wear an Olympic gold medal like the wrestler I admire the most Jordan Burroughs. I love his style. When I was young, I used to watch his videos for hours. I want to succeed like him.”