Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games Champion, Lawrence Iquaibom has decried the high cost of Weightlifting equipment that has stifled the development of the sport in most states in Nigeria.
Iquaibom in a chat with our correspondent expressed his determination to ensure he makes use of his international connections to make the equipment available and accessible at subsidised rate if he is given the mantle of leadership in the forthcoming Nigeria Weightlifting Federation elections where new board members will be ushered in.
The former Director of Sports, Akwa Ibom Sports Council and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Akwa Ibom disclosed that: “The sport is not evenly developed because of high cost of its equipment. Most states in Nigeria do not have it and this has made some of our coaches to be idle.
“By God’s grace, will try to use our international reach to bring in equipment at a subsidized rate for states to benefit. This will bring about the discovery of more talented lifters into the sport, which will promote competition that brings about increased in performance.
“We will also ensure regular zonal competitions especially in the youth and junior categories. Periodic training camp for our national teams will also be 23among our topmost priorities.
Iquaibom also explained what could be done to revive the dwindling fortune of Weightlifting as a sport and what must be put in place to ensure the coaches are kept busy and new lifters are discovered.
“Lots are to be done in this area, like retraining of our coaches on talent identification and nurturing, making weightlifting equipment affordable to every state with the support of the equipment and the advancement commission of our international bodies.
“We must also work closely with zonal offices for regular intra and inter zonal Championships.
The well traveled sports administrator rued the absence of Nigeria weightlifters at the recently held Tokyo 2020 Olympics but he thumbed up the performance of the athletes who took part in the recently held National Weightlifting Championships held in Uyo where new lifters were discovered.
He also stated that the championships afforded athletes that took part at the National Sports Festival held in Benin City, Edo State another opportunity to test the level of their preparedness for upcoming competitions.
“The successes recorded to us in the federation was encouraging. We thank God that we were able to achieve our main objectives of the Championships. Like bringing these athletes together measure their current form after the National Sports Festival.
“The championships gave us the opportunity to select our best hands base on their current form for the upcoming international competitions, and also add that we used the opportunity to educate the lifters and officials on the dangers of drugs in Sports. We thank the National Anti Doping Committee for sending their personnel to handle the seminalr.”
Iquaibom who has signified his intention to become the President of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation thanked the Minister of Youth and Sports, Chief Sunday Dare for the opportunity given him to serve as a member of Caretaker Committee of the Federation and he added that the knowledge accrued from the enviable position will be of significant help in his future endeavours.