Six Nigerian weightlifters and three officials have arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation, IWF Championship.
The championship, which also serves as Olympic Games 2024 qualifiers commenced on Monday, September 4, and will end on Sunday, September 17.
In a press statement signed by the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, NWF Media Officer, Mr Amaechi Agbo, the Nigerian contingents made up of six weightlifters (two men and four women) and three officials, departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, yesterday via Ethiopia Airline by 1:30 p.m. local time.
Nigeria will participate in six categories at the championship with Umofia Edidiong competing in 73kg and Akano Desmond in 89kg, men categories.
Lawal Folashade Rafiatu and Olarinoye Adijat Adenike will compete in the 59kg women category, while Eze Joy Ogbenne and Ayodele Ruth Imoleayo will do battle in the 71kg and 64kg women categories.
The three officials who accompanied the athletes are: Ojadi Aduche, Usman Shehu and Okpo Dorothy Bernard.
According competition schedules released by the IWF, 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 this year, will compete in the 59kg women’s category tomorrow (September 7) by 11.30 a.m.
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, September 10 by 9.30 a.m.
Ayodele Ruth and Eze Joy Ogbenne will compete in the 64kg and 71kg women’s categories on September 10 by 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. same day, respectively.
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 in Tunisia, which also served as Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The weightlifters that have been in camp for the past two months are optimistic that they would consolidate their Olympic Games qualification hopes in Riyadh
The 2023 IWF Championship has record entries of 117 countries participating with 719 lifters made up of 365 men and 354 women. Nigeria weightlifters will participate in three more championship qualifiers ahead the 2024 Olympics Games in Paris, France.