NIGERIA IN KENYA FOR OLYMPIC TICKET
London 2012 Weightlifting qualifier
After yesterday's technical committee's meeting in Nairobi, action is expected to start today in the African weightlifting championship which is also serving as qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympics. Team Nigeria which is in Nairobi with a full squad of 15 lifters (8 male and 7 female) is billed to slug it out with athletes from 15 other countries with the biggest threat coming from Algeria and Cameroon.
Head coach of the Nigerian weightlifting team, Patrick Bassey, had after yesterday's early morning training in a Kenyan secondary school sports hall declared that his athletes were ready, even as he disclosed that there were no injury worries in camp.
Bassey said his target was to see eight Nigerian lifters making it to the London 2012 Olympics this summer. He was, however, quick to confess that he was expecting tough opposition from Cameroonian lifters. 'The biggest challenge we will face will definitely come from Cameroon. But we hope to score enough points from the Nairobi outing to pick, at least, eight Olympic slots,' Bassey said.
He stressed that Nigeria's biggest hope lies with the ladies, insisting that Nigeria, at the moment, is the best in Africa in female weightlifting. Fifteen countries are already in Nairobi for the weightlifting fiesta with Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon staying in the same hotel located in the city centre. The three-star hotel, Sentrim 680, is just about five minutes drive by bus to the competition venue located inside the massive Nairobi City Mall.
The championship which ends April 4 starts with the lower weight categories. Some of the other countries here for the competition include Ghana, Uganda, Tunisia and South Africa.