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Education saved lifters, weightlifting boss

Retired Capt. Babatunde Adedimeji, Technical Director, Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF), says education and pre_competitions tests saved weightlifters from testing positive to banned drugs at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

It would be recalled that three of the four athletes that failed doping tests at the Games which ended on Oct. 14 in India, were Nigerians.

They were Oludamola Osayomi, who was stripped of her 100 metres gold medal; hurdler Samuel Okon and Folashade Abugan who ran in the 400 metres.

Adedimeji said on Thursday in Lagos that the federation was careful with the weightlifters’ welfare to ensure that the country was not embarrassed after having been banned for two editions.

The ban prevented Nigeria from participating in the 2002 edition in Manchester, England; and Melbourne 2006 in Australia.

Adedimeji said: “It is a good thing our image was redeemed at the Delhi Commonwealth Games as none of our athletes failed the doping test.

“We educated them all through their stay in camp on the inherent dangers in doping; it enabled them to train hard and win without using performance enhancing drugs.

“We made them to understand that hard work does not kill but pays because cheating can only bring disgrace to the guilty and his country.

“We also conducted pre_competition tests with the assistance of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and all these worked in our favour to have a successful outing”.

He said that to completely stamp out doping, the federation’s board was putting in place a quarterly enlightenment program for athletes.

Adedimeji, who is also a member of the Africa Weightlifting Federation, said the athletes performed credibly but that it could have been better if some of them had participated in international competitions earlier.

He urged the NSC to send athletes on training tours before any competition as it would expose them to internationally accepted standard facilities and rules.Weightlifting won three gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the Games.


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