By Emily Goddard

Daniel Igali is running for a place on the FILA Bureau ©Getty ImagesJosip Mrkoci, chairman of the Commonwealth Wrestling Association, has backed Nigerian-born Olympic gold medallist Daniel Igali for a place on the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) ruling Bureau.

Igali, who featured alongside FILA President Nenad Lalovic on the successful presentation team bidding to save the sport's place on the Olympic programme in Buneos Aires last year, has announced he is running for a place at the body.

If elected at this September's Congress in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent on September 7, he would become the first African on the Bureau.

He is currently head of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation after a competitive career that saw him secure gold in the 69-kilogram freestyle weight class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 74kg competition at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games when he competed under the Canadian flag.

Now Mrkoci thinks Igali is the right person to represent Africa at the sport's world governing body in one of the six available six-year term Bureau seats as he is among "the new generation of wrestlers".

"The African continent has 46 wrestling nations which are members of FILA and no FILA Bureau voting members at the FILA Congress," Mrkoci said.

"There is a representative on FILA from Morocco [Fouad Meskout] as the chairman of the African continent which is not an elected position on the FILA Bureau and has no voting rights at the FILA Congress.

"It is time that the African continent is represented on the FILA Bureau and that person should be Daniel Igali of Nigeria."

Daniel Igali (centre) won Olympic gold at Sydney 2000 ahead of Russia's Arsen Gitinov and Lincoln McIlravy of the United States ©Getty ImagesDaniel Igali (centre) won Olympic gold at Sydney 2000 ahead of Russia's Arsen Gitinov and Lincoln McIlravy of the United States ©Getty Images

Mrkoci claimed that he will rally support from nations across the globe, including while at next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, to ensure Igali is elected.

"Daniel has helped to have wrestling back on the Olympic programme, all the members of FILA know and love him," Mrkoci told Nigerian newspaper The Sun.

"The Government of Nigeria and the entire Nigerians should encourage him.

"Beside all this, I am convinced that Daniel is the man for this position and I am sure he would do a good job.

"I implore you and all other stakeholders in the sport in your country to come out so that we all coordinate our efforts and see that Daniel goes for the position."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
June 2014: 
Lalovic to stand unopposed for re-election as FILA President