Team Nigeria claimed 11 medals at the just-concluded African Senior Weightlifting Championship in Ismaila, Egypt and earned the praises of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation president Ibrahim Abdul.
Joy Eze rounded off a magnificent performance for Team Nigeria on Wednesday after she scooped all the three gold medals available in the 71kg women’s category. Her three gold haul made it 11 medals for Team Nigeria consisting of six gold and five silver medals.
Eze lifted 104 kg in snatch to win gold and added another gold in clean and jerk with a lift of 130kg, before the weightlifter claimed her third gold by having the highest total lift (234kg).
Eze’s three gold moved her up to the top 12 in the Olympic qualification ranking in her weight class. Rafiat Lawal, Adijat Olarinoye and Umoafia Edidiong are closing in on Olympic Games tickets too with their performances in Ismaila and only the top 10-ranked will make it to the Olympic Games in Paris, France come July this year.
Lawal claimed three gold medals in the 59kg while Olarinoye bagged three silver medals in the same weight class and Edidiong picked up two silver medals in the men’s 73kg.
NWF boss Abdul praised the four weightlifters who boosted their chances of picking Olympic tickets and vowed to chase a record outing at the African Games in Ghana.
“It was a commendable performance from the four weightlifters. They have done us proud and we are all glad with what they have achieved in Egypt,” he said.
“We know the lifters are capable of doing more and we expect them to go full throttle at the African Games with the rest of their colleagues. We expect them to give the signal at the African Games before going to Thailand to complete the job.
“We shall proceed to camp almost immediately as they return from Egypt because the African Games is around the corner and we want to ensure we perform better than we have done in previous editions.”
The Nigerian lifters will participate in another Olympic Games qualifier next month when the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup holds from March 31 to April 11 in Phuket, Thailand, which will be the last qualifier before the Olympics.