Daniel Igali Biography: Nigerian-Canadian Freestyle Wrestler

Baraladei Daniel Igali (born February 3, 1974) is a Nigerian-Canadian Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling. He represented Nigeria in wrestling before moving to Canada in search of greener pastures.

Early Life and Education

Daniel Igali was born in Eniwari, Bayelsa State, Nigeria on February 3, 1974. He spent his formative years in Nigeria and also stayed there while seeking refugee status due to political unrest in Nigeria, and he obtained Canadian citizenship in 1998.

He earned a Master of Arts in criminology from Simon Fraser University after attending Douglas College for his undergraduate studies. He trained at SFU while working on his master’s degree and enjoyed assisting the school coach during training.


As the leader of Nigeria’s wrestling squad, he traveled to Canada to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Because of Nigeria’s political unrest, he remained in the country while applying for refugee status. In 1998, he became a citizen.

Igali, a Canadian wrestler, won 116 consecutive matches at Simon Fraser University from 1997 to 1999. He finished fourth in the 1998 World Championships. He took bronze in the 1999 Pan American Games and finished second in the 1998 World Cup. Nasir Lal, a two-time Canadian Olympian from Afghanistan, was his coach.

Igali won the gold medal in men’s 69 kg freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He represented Canada on the international stage. Igali won the gold medal in men’s 74 kg freestyle wrestling at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. In 2007, Igali was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. He was later inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Wrestling with Destiny: The Life and Times of Daniel Igali,” a television documentary directed by Joel Gordon, focuses on his wrestling career. In 2004, CBC Television aired the biographical documentary film as part of the Life and Times TV series.

Igali was elected President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, which resulted in the most zealous athletes and most likely medal contenders for Nigeria at the 2018 and 2022 Commonwealth Games. Nigerian athletes’ performance had always been very low prior to his return to the wrestling sports scene in Nigeria.

Political Career

On February 10, 2005, Igali announced his intention to run for the British Columbia Liberal Party nomination in Surrey-Newton in the 2005 provincial election in British Columbia. Despite winning the nomination, Harry Bains of the New Democrats won the election.

In 2020, he was elected President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation. He is the Bayelsa State Sports Commissioner and a two-term member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.

Personal Life

Daniel is married with children and commutes between Surrey, British Columbia, where his family lives, and Nigeria. In 2012, Igali was named one of Canadian Immigrant Magazine’s Top 25 Immigrants.


  • National Championships: 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994.
  • Nigerian Greco-Roman champions in 1991 and 1993
  • African freestyle champion: 1993 and 1994.
  • Collegiate level: 166 matches, undefeated.
  • Canadian national Greco-Roman welterweight champion in 1997.
  • National freestyle champion in 1998.
  • World Championships: Bronze medal
  • Pan American Games: Gold medal
  • 2000 Summer Olympics: Gold medal
  • Canadian champion: 2001 and 2002.
  • 2002 Commonwealth Games: Gold

Awards and Nominations

  • The Voice of the Nation: The Sun Award, 2020–2021
  • Canadian Immigrant Magazine’s Top 25 Immigrants Award in 2012.
  • Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
  • Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012.
  • The Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete of the year.
  • British Columbia Sports (2001).
  • Canada’s Sports (2007)
  • Canadian Olympic (2012)
  • International Wrestling (2012) Hall of Fame

Daniel Igjhali Net Worth

His estimated net worth is unavailable.

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