BY OKEY NDIRIBE
Nigeria has commenced preparations for participation in the weightlifting event at the 2016 Olympics scheduled to hold in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
This was disclosed Tuesday in Abuja by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Chief Chibudom Nwuche, who is also the National President of the Weightlifting Federation of Nigeria.
Giving a deeper insight into the preparations, Nwuche said the federation had successfully held a national championship in Uyo, the Akwa-IbomState capital, which attracted the participation of over 20 states and clubs.
He further stated that Nigerian weightlifters had already reported to camp for participation in next month’s Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships holding in Malaysia.
Said he: “We are confident Nigeria would excel at the Championships and it would serve as a solid build up for us ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “
He further said that 32 weightlifters reported to camp last Sunday as part of the preparations for participation in the Glasgow games.
Said he: “ We have taken adequate steps to make the athletes comfortable as they train under the watchful eyes of Coach Emmanuel Oshomah and four others who were picked on the basis of merit”.
He further stated that the federation had drawn up a code of conduct for the athletes adding that “we have made it clear that there must be a high level of discipline in camp as that is the only way to get the best out of the athletes.”
Nwuche also said that the federation would adopt a very strict approach to the issue of doping and drug abuse among the weightlifters adding that the board had concluded plans to subject all the athletes in camp to a test in a bid to ensure that only clean athletes represent the nation.
Said he : “ Doping test would be continuous. It would take place before, during and after the camping preceding next month’s championships.”
He said the weightlifters would proceed straight to Malaysia for the championships after camping.
According to him: “selection for the championships would be based only on merit; that is to say on the performance of the athletes during competitions.”
He further said that the federation recently relocated its secretariat from Lagos to Abuja adding that its request for office space at the National Stadium was given quick approval.
He thanked the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and the Director-General of National Sports Commission, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye for their support.