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Daniel Igali

Full name: Baraladei Daniel Igali
Gender: Male
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
Weight: 163 lbs (74 kg)
Born: February 3, 1974 in Eniwari, Bayelsa, Nigeria
Affiliations: BMWC, Burnaby (CAN)
Country: CAN Canada
Sport: Wrestling

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)

Biography

Nigerian-born Daniel Igali took up wrestling after Olympian Macauley Appah visited his village in the mid-1980s. He won his first national championship in freestyle wrestling in 1990 and repeated that feat in 1991, 1993, and 1994. He was also the Nigerian Greco-Roman champion in 1991 and 1993 and African freestyle champion in 1993 and 1994. These accomplishments earned him the right to represent his country at that year’s Commonwealth Games, held in Victoria, Canada, where he applied for refugee status due to the political situation in his country. He wrestled for Douglas College, and then Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia and was undefeated over 116 matches at the collegiate level through 1999. Along the way he was the Canadian national Greco-Roman welterweight champion in 1997 and, after gaining his citizenship, national freestyle champion in 1998 and fourth in that division at the 1998 World Championships. He gained serious attention in 1999, however, when he took gold and bronze in the category at the World Championships and Pan American Games respectively, in addition to being national champion in both styles of wrestling. He was then selected for Canada’s delegation to the 2000 Summer Olympics, where he defeated Russia’s Arsen Gitinov in the finals to capture the gold medal, the first ever in wrestling for a Canadian. That year he won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete.

Igali focused on freestyle wrestling for the remainder of his career and was Canadian champion again in 2001 and 2002. Switching to the middleweight division, he earned gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and competed at the Summer Olympics in 2004, but was defeated by eventual bronze medalist Iván Fundora of Cuba in the quarter-finals and placed sixth. He retired from active competition after the Games and has been inducted into the British Columbia Sports (2001), Canada’s Sports (2007), the Canadian Olympic (2012), and the International Wrestling Halls of Fame (2012). He was also a successful international kabaddi player, earning the sobriquet “The Michael Jordan of Kabaddi” for his accomplishments, but retired prior to 2000 to concentrate on his training for the Olympics.

Igali has been active in many fields since his Olympic victory. In 2002 he established the Daniel Igali Foundation with the goal of opening a school in his native Eniwari in Nigeria, a dream that was realized in 2006. He ran for political office in British Columbia, and was defeated, but later became a member of the House of Assembly in Nigeria’s Bayelsa State in 2011. He has also served as a coach for Nigeria’s wrestling delegations to the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics and holds a degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Men's Welterweight, Freestyle Canada CAN 1 Gold
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Men's Middleweight, Freestyle Canada CAN 6

Men's Welterweight, Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result MR W L CP TP
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Final Standings 1 2000-09-29
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Final Round Match 1/2 1 2000-10-01 Igali (CAN) decision (7-4) (6:00), Gitinov (RUS) 7
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Semi-finals Match #1 1 2000-10-01 Igali (CAN) decision (6-3) (8:14), McIlravy (USA) 6
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Quarter-finals Match #1 1 2000-10-01 Igali (CAN) decision (3-1) (6:15), Sánchez (CUB) 3
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Round One Pool One 1 2 0 6 5
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Round One Pool One Match #1 1 Igali (CAN) decision (2-2) (9:00), Tavakolian (IRI) 2
2000 Summer 26 Sydney Wrestling Canada CAN Round One Pool One Match #2 1 Igali (CAN) decision (3-0) (6:00), Betinidis (GEO) 3

Men's Middleweight, Freestyle

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result MR CP W L TP
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Canada CAN Final Standings 6 2004-08-28
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Canada CAN Quarter-Finals Match #3 2 2004-08-29 Fundora (CUB) decision (3-1) (6:00), Igali (CAN) 1 1
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Canada CAN Pool B 1 2004-08-28 6 2 0 12
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Canada CAN Pool B Match #1 1 2004-08-28 Igali (CAN) decision (5-2) (6:00), Abdusalomov (TJK) 5 3
2004 Summer 30 Athina Wrestling Canada CAN Pool B Match #2 1 2004-08-28 Igali (CAN) decision (7-1) (6:00), Aslanov (AZE) 7 3