Just as was anticipated,the Nigerian Wrestling team have been denied access from taking part in the 2014 Senior World Wrestling Championships in Uzbekistan because of reported cases of the dreaded Ebola Virus in the country.
Uzbekistan through the International Wrestling Federation(FILA) told Nigeria that they will not take part in the forthcoming championship,because they could be a possible threat to others.
Nigeria alongside Sierra Leone and two other African countries were barred from participating,with fears that the wrestlers could be carriers of the virus.
Last week,the Uzbekistan authorities said that they were going to make a decision whether to allow the African countries where there has been an outbreak of the virus,to take part in the championship.
Another implication of the restriction is that the African officials will not take part in contesting for elective positions in FILA.
President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF)Daniel Igali in a written letter to the FILA president Nenad Lalovic,protested the decision,adding that they are indirectly tagging them carriers of the virus.
“In that letter, I expressed my displeasure and disappointment felt by the athletes and officials whose exclusion from the 2014 world championships, apart from preventing them from world class experience and opportunity, also stigmatises them as carriers of a horrible disease,” Igali wrote.
“I would like to get clarification from you on whether the said five federation presidents (now six, with Senegal which recently had a case of positive Ebola infection) can be allowed entry into Tashkent for the FILA congress.
As Prince Sualley mentioned, there are stringent health checks in place at airports in these countries which makes it impossible for affected persons to make it through these checks to board flights out of them.
You know the importance of the FILA congress in the calendar of a national wrestling federation. More importantly, there are a few presidents from these affected countries that are candidates for the FILA Bureau.
“Aside the CALA President who sits on the Bureau in his position as a continental President, we have no elected representative on the FILA Bureau – a situation that needs to be corrected at these elections.
“It would therefore be a huge disservice to the wrestling cause if I and my other colleagues are disallowed from participating at the FILA Congress and the ensuing elections.
I am prepared to submit myself to any kind of tests if that will placate the minds of the Uzbekistani authorities.