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Weightlifting coaches want technocrat as federation’s boss

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The Chairman of Nigeria Weightlifting Coaches Association, Emeka Ajei, has appealed to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare and other stakeholders, to allow technocrats in the likes of Daniel Igali of wrestling, Chika Chukwumerije of Taekwondo and others to run the federation.

Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Ajei, who said the sport, which enjoyed successes in the past, is now moribund, culminating in the country not qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

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“We, the coaches under the weightlifting federation, have come together to say that we also need a technocrat in the likes of Igali, Chukwumerije, Samuel Ochei of Handball to run weightlifting. We all know what Igali did for wrestling, so also Chukwumerije in Taekwondo and Ochei for Handball, and we also have someone in this mold of great former sportsmen in weightlifting

“As chairman of the Nigerian Coaches Association, I cannot say we have been doing very well, as far as the sport is concerned because we have not got to the Promised Land.”

“I had a meeting with my coaches at the National Sports Festival and the consensus was that we too need a veteran to be in charge.

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“We have been having people, who are not former weightlifters as president of the federation without substantial success. So, we have now agreed among ourselves that it was high time we had our person, a technocrat, administrator, former director of sports and currently sports development officer at NOC in the person of Mr. Lawrence Iquaibom, who know the sport better,” he said, adding that a former international in weightlifting should know where the shoe pinches.

“Weightlifting is our farmland because we have no other place to go.

“We have tried strangers and they have not done well for the federation. That is why the coaches have agreed that now is the time for someone who has played the sport before to handle it.”

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That is why we are going to protect him and ensure that he becomes the president of the federation.”

He added that the coaches would appeal to stakeholders, beginning from the grassroots ahead of the next federations’ election.

“We have appealed to all the coaches in the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to help us project our former great, an Olympian, to become the next NWF president. We want the minister of sports to hearken to us, as a way forward for weightlifting in Nigeria,” he stated.

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