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Date of Birth: 03/02/74
Place of Birth: Eniari, Nigeria
Hometown: Surrey, BC
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 151 lbs
Years on National Team: 5
 Daniel Igali of Burnaby, B.C., became Canada's first men's world wrestling champion in September when he won six straight bouts to claim the gold medal in the men's 69 kilograms division at the world freestyle wrestling championships in Turkey

 Igali, who didn't return to his home in Nigeria after the 1994 Commonwealth Games because of political unrest, dedicated his victory to his adoptive Canadian mother in Burnaby who was undergoing treatment for cancer. She passed away a few weeks later.

 "I was very much inspired at the worlds to do well for my adoptive Mom," said Igali, a 25-year-old criminology student at Simon Fraser University who also qualified for the 2000 Olympics with the win.

 Three weeks before the worlds, Igali tore his meniscus in his left knee and there was some doubts whether he could compete. He immediately underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after suffering the injury in training.

 "I thought when I was injured that the worlds were a write-off for me. But my coaches (Dave McKay and Mike Jones), kept the faith and told me to hang on. They told me to do the therapy I needed to do. I started training again a week after my 'scope'. It didn't feel so good but we kept at it anyway."

 At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Igali placed 11th but didn't make the return trip home. "There were political problems in Nigeria at the time but I also wanted to further my education and be a better wrestler," said Igali, who ambitions to be a police officer with the Vancouver Police Department. "I am so glad I stayed and I don't regret it for one second although leaving my family behind was a very difficult decision."

 The 2000 Sydney Games will be Igali's first Olympics. He just missed the cut for the Nigerian team in 1992 and wasn't eligible to compete for Canada in 1996.

2000 Games
Oct. 1: 69-kg: Daniel Igali, Surrey, B.C., won gold medal.
Sept. 30: 69-kg: Daniel Igali, Surrey, B.C., def. Amir Tavakolian Haghighi, Iran, 2-2, OT, 9:00, to advance to quarter-finals.


2000 Games Wrestling Coverage