Nigerian weightlifter, Augustina Nwokolo disqualified from taking part in African Championship

Poor flight arrangements orchestrated by a shoddy organization has robbed Nigeria of the opportunity of winning more medals at the African Weightlifting Championship in Cairo, Egypt.

One of the country’s medal hopefuls at the continent’s flagship tournament, Augustina Nwokolo arrived Egypt behind the deadline stipulated for competitors of all participating countries and was promptly disqualified.

Usually, all the lifters are given a deadline within which they should arrive venue of the competition to enable them to register and weigh in for their various weight categories.

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Nwokolo, who arrived late because the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation could not get enough funds to make early travelling arrangements for her would have competed in the 49kg category.

The story of the lifter is not an isolated case as just a few weeks ago, the country’s athletes to the African Junior Athletics Champions travelled for three days by road to Abidjan and arrived hours to the commencement of the event.

The Nigerian contingent could not get a dime from the sports ministry hence their resort to travel by road since the athletes were ready to weather any storm to attend the event.

However,  some other lifters who were lucky to arrive in Cairo shortly before the deadline for registration were quite impressive in their performances.

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Nigeria went to the championship with a total of five lifters including four women and they were able to win nine gold medals in Egypt.

Chika Joy Amalaha (55kg), Chinenye Fidelis (59kg) and Bilikis Otunla (76kg) won three gold medals each in their various weight classes while Joseph Edidiong( 67kg) placed fifth in his own weight class which meant that the only male lifter in Team Nigeria ended the championship without a place on the podium.

A board member of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, Steve Olarinoye said that he knew that Nigeria women lifters will not disappoint in Egypt because they have always been better medal prospects than their males stressing that their performance this time has reconfirmed that assertion.

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He revealed that the performance of the country’s lifters in Egypt has boosted Nigeria’s medal chances at the African Games and that they are working at securing at least 20 gold medals during the Games.

“I will say I was not surprised because our women weightlifters have always been consistent in the previous competitions for many years now,” Olarinoye said.

“I will say that the performance of Chika Amalaha, Chinenye Fidelis and Bilikis Otunla have revived our hope of doing well at the African Games. We are promising Nigerians at least 20 gold medals because we know we have the lifters to do us proud.”

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The weightlifters are expected back in Nigeria via Abuja Tuesday through Ethiopian Airlines at the completion of their weight classes.

The host nation of the African Weightlifting Championship, Egypt were joined at the tournament by athletes from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon and Kenya.

Competitors from Tunisia, Uganda, Lesotho, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius and Libya also took part in the championship.

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