*Weightlifting Federation messes up athletes
*Misses all qualifiers
By Olajide Fashikun
Nigeria’s chances of doing well at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games is in jeopardy as the Weightlifting Federation of Nigeria (WFN) has totally messed up the chances of her elite athletes competing at the Games scheduled for Australia.
Sources at the International Weightlifting Federation rued the “quality of road side managers your nation has brought to manage the sport in your country. This is the saddest turn of events in your nation’s weightlifting. I feel like crying for Nigeria. Your federation leadership are a bunch of illiterates. They don’t know the sport at all.”
According to the source, “none of the seniors who could ordinarily have made medals because of current forms could qualify for the CWG because they missed out of two qualifiers so far. One of the qualifiers was in Mauritius. Your Federation folks claimed they have no money to pay international affiliation fees. A big nation like Nigeria?”
As it is, “the three juniors presently in the CWG camp are rather guess work as they may not be making the medal zone except if there are intervening factors which I sincerely doubt.
“Even, Olympic bronze medallist, Maryam Usman, paid her way through to America but the organisers won’t let her compete because Nigeria did not officially register any athlete nor sent in any information on any form of difficulty,” said our authoritative source.
Weightlifting is and has been one of the key federations where Nigeria has always secured medals to shore up a dying international image of the nation in sports. With this disastrous manhandling of these qualifiers, the nation’s chances of doing well on the medal log may have suffered serious backlash.
As it is, Nigeria weightlifters will not feature at the 2018 Commonwealth games in Gold Coast. The country failed to appear at the 2017 commonwealth weightlifting championships in Australia.
The Nigerian team, who are made up of four women weightlifters – Chineye Fidelis (58kg), Oluwatoyin Adesanmi (63kg), Bilikis Otunla (75kg) and Maryam Usman (+90kg) – missed the competition due to paucity of funds.
It was learnt that the visas for the weightlifters were gotten on time but the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation could not secure the needed funds for the travelling arrangements.
The competition is the qualifiers for the 2018 commonwealth games and having missed it, Nigeria would have to wait for the international Weightlifting Federation to allot a slot for its lifters.
However, with the weightlifters failing to compete at any competition from 2016 till date (Nigeria missed out of the 2017 African Weightlifting championships in Mauritius in July).
Secretary-General of the NWF, Umar Lambu, said, “it was stressful for us to get the visas for the weightlifters because the Australian embassy is not in Nigeria – the nearest we got was in South Africa. We got the letter from the Commonwealth Federation late but we were able to secure the visas at the last minute.
“However, the funds we expected to use for the trip didn’t come in when we expected it to. It was an unavoidable miss and the NWF is not happy about it. We explored various avenues to get the money but we were left helpless. We prepared well for the competition but the last minute disappointment caused the cancellation of the trip.