By Victor Kanayo
Nigerian athletes will be featuring during the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Championship scheduled between September 4 and 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Despite the schedule of the global sporting event which also serves as Olympic Games 2024 qualifiers, Nigeria’s contingent made up of six Weightlifters are still in the country, preparing to leave.
Nigerian Contingent To Riyadh
However, a press statement by the Nigeria weightlifters made up of two men and four women, with three officials, will depart the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, later same day via Ethiopia Airline by 1:30pm local time.
The statement further revealed that Nigeria will participate in six categories at the championship with Umofia Edidiong competing in 73kg and Akano Desmond in 89kg, men’s categories.
According to the statement, Lawal Folashade Rafiatu and Olarinoye Adijat Adenike will compete in the 59kg women category while Eze Joy Ogbenne and Ayodele Ruth Imoleayo will compete in the 71kg and 64kg women categories, in that order.
The three officials who will accompany the athletes are: Ojadi Aduche, Usman Shehu and Okpo Dorothy Bernard.
A look at the competition schedule released by the IWF disclosed that Folashade Lawal and Adijat Olarinoye, who both won three gold and three silver medals respectively at the 2023 Senior Africa Weightlifting Championship in Tunisia in May, will compete in the 59kg women’s category on September 7 by 11.30am.
Edidiong Umofia will compete in the 73kg men’s category on September 8 by 12noon, while Akano Desmond will take his turn in the 89kg men’s category two days later by 9.30am.
Ayodele Ruth and Eze Joy Ogbenne will compete in the 64kg and 71kg women’s categories on September 10 by 2:30pm and 7:30pm same day, respectively. All timing mentioned are in Nigeria time.
Nigeria had a glorious outing in their first Olympic Games qualifying race in Tunisia four months ago when five athletes amassed 12 medals at the 2023 Senior Africa Weightlifting Championship, which also served as 2024 Olympic Games qualifier.
“The weightlifters who have been in camp for the past two months are optimistic that they would consolidate their Olympic Games 2024 qualification hopes in Riyadh,” the statement added.
The 2023 IWF Championship has a record entries of 117 countries participating with 719 lifters made up of 365 men and 354 women.
Tunisia, England, Uganda, Turkey, United States of America, India, Afghanistan, Thailand, Argentina, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Botswana, Brazil, China, Chile, Cameroon, Canada, Egypt, France, Ghana, Kenya, Germany, Greece are among other countries whose weightlifters will feature at the Championship.