NWF introduces weightlifting clubs, prepares for Commonweaith Games qualifiers
Newly-elected President of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF), Yahaya Mohammed has said the body would introduce weightlifting clubs in various states as a way of boasting its grassroots programmes.
Mohammed’s election as the NWF President was upheld last week, after the sports ministry over ruled earlier decision by the appeals committee for a re-run election.
With the dust raised by the sports federations’ election now settled, Mohammed says his board would embark on serious grassroots programmes to give Nigeria weightlifting solid foundation it deserves so as to be among a top contender at world level.
Weightlifting has been one of Team Nigeria’s medal hopes at continental championships like the All African Games and Commonwealth Games. But at the Olympics Games level, the country has not been able to establish its foot, as the silver medal won by Ruth Ogbeifo in the women’s 75kg at Sydney 2000 remains the best ever.
The closest was a bronze medal awarded to Mariam Usman at Beijing 2008 Olympics in the +75 kg division, where she initially finished fifth, but was upgraded to a bronze medal after the silver and bronze medalists were suspended in August 2016 after testing positive for drugs.
However, the new board led by Yahaya Mohammed says the nation’s weightlifting would be a sport to bank on in Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Mohammed said the federation would soon commence preparation for the qualifiers for 2018 Commonwealth Games holding in Gold Coast, Australia.
“One major thing this board will do to lift the game is to introduce weightlifting clubs in all the states,” Mohammed said. “With such clubs, our coaches will be able to discover more talents for their states and for the national teams. We will begin our preparation for the Commonwealth Games qualifiers soon, and we are also embarking on sponsorship drive to fund most of our programmes because the government can not do it alone.”
Mohammed, who before emerging the new NWF boss was the federation’s Vice President, said the new board which was inaugurated at the weekend by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has resolved to turn things around.
“We are determined to give the game a new lease of life in the country. Immediately after the inauguration, the board met in Abuja and took some far reaching decisions. We are going to operate with a very vibrant marketing committee that would attract sponsors to the game. My appeal to corporate bodies is for them to rally round us because with their support the country will excel in the sport. We have the talents that can do us proud if given the needed support,” Mohammed said.
He said the NWF would soon begin preparations for the world weightlifting championship billed for December this year in Los Angeles, USA, adding, “We would soon come up with a comprehensive programme but the immediate challenge is to start preparations for the World Championship in December.”