TORONTO - A few years ago, Canadian Olympic legend Daniel Igali decided to return to the nation of his birth, Nigeria, to help foster positive change in that African nation.
It hasn’t been easy. Nigeria is extremely rich in terms of resources, but also considered one of the most corrupt countries on Earth with vast portions of its population living in poverty. But Igali, who won a freestyle wrestling gold medal for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has made a difference, particularly in his home state of Bayelsa, where he is an elected representative in the State House of Assembly. One of his triumphs was the establishment in 2002 of the Maureen Matheny Academy, an 11-classroom school in his hometown of Eniwari, a cutting edge facility that includes a gymnasium, an auditorium, a library and computer room.
Igali, who sought refugee status in Canada after competing at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, is a man of action, both on and off the wrestling mat, and is not afraid to speak his mind when he perceives an injustice.