Igali inducted to global Hall of Fame at Olympics
Mike Jones, SFU wrestling (expected to attend), 778.782.4382; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Girard, executive director, Igali Foundation (attending the induction), 1.425.890.1199 (cell); email@example.com
Daniel Igali, (checking email sporatically) Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.4323/9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
To track Daniel during the Olympics and for daily updates see www.igali.com
For a list of SFU Olympics experts see: http://at.sfu.ca/kxYZeH
It’s an honour en par with winning his Olympic gold medal – that’s how Simon Fraser University alumnus Daniel Igali feels about his Aug. 3 induction into the International Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“To me it is as big as becoming an Olympic champion,” says Igali, one of seven inductees into the Federation International de Luttes Associees (FILA), the international Olympic governing body for the sport of wrestling.
Igali, head coach of the Nigerian wrestling team, is now in London’s Olympic Village in the final leg of preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“I will always feel pride in winning gold for Canada,” he adds. “I feel confident too that the wrestling talent coming forward amongst all countries competing at these games in London holds much promise for the sport.”
“Daniel’s induction is huge for all involved in sport in Canada and Nigeria as well,” says SFU wrestling coach Mike Jones, who is expected to be in London for the event.
“To win what many think is the toughest weight division in the oldest recorded sporting event was truly remarkable. To do so coming from a country that has not traditionally embraced the sport was phenomenal.
“On top of that, Daniel is an outstanding person, using his success to help others. He has been in my personal hall of fame for some time, and I’m glad others are recognizing him in theirs, especially on an international scale.”
Also in London will be Canadian national coach Dave McKay, who coached Igali to victory at the 2000 Olympics, and competitors Arjun Bhullar and Carol Huyhn, both former SFU students. Huyhn won gold for Canada in Beijing in 2008.
Igali, a Canadian citizen, won his gold medal in freestyle wrestling, a first for Canada, at the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia in 2000. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology at SFU the following year and went on to raise $600,000 for a new school - Maureen Matheny Academy - for his home community of Eniwari, Nigeria. It opened in 2006 and enrolls 60 students in academic and athletic programs.
The Surrey resident splits his time between Canada and Nigeria, where he continues to oversee the school and, as an elected statesman in Nigeria’s Bayelsa State House of Assembly, hopes to impact the country’s education system as well as its national wrestling program.
Igali has coached the Nigerian team for four years and led athletes to their best results ever at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At the London Olympics, he heads a team of four competitors, an unprecedented achievement in the country’s history.
The 2012 FILA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will take place on Friday, Aug. 3 at London’s Grange St-Paul Hotel prior to the beginning of the Olympic wrestling competition.
Igali will also be among several athletes inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame this fall.
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