By Ime Bassey
President of the Nigerian Weightlifting Federation, NWF, Chimdi Ejiogu has disclosed the reasons behind the federation’s loss of its slots at the just concluded World Weightlifting Championship held in Paris, France.
Speaking to Saturday Vanguard Sports, the Imo State born sports administrator said, “If we had attended last years’ championship, we would have gathered points which could have been added to that of this year, putting us in a good position for three to four slots for the Olympics. Because of our absence in the last championship, we lost the two slots we got from this years’ championship.
“This mix-up came as a result of the lack of awareness on the part of the National Sports Commission on the procedure for qualifying for the Olympics. They thought that competing in the African qualifiers and this year’s tourney was good enough for qualification, hence funds were not released for the championship last year,” Ejiogu disclosed.
He also narrated the federation’s ordeal before gaining entrance to Paris, venue of this year’s championship.
“We had problems with the French Embassy which refused to give us visa on time. We got visa on Saturday and had to leave in batches on Saturday and Sunday after I had mounted pressure on the Nigerian Ambassador in France through the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs when the competition had started on Thursday.
“By the time we got to France, some of our athletes could not compete as their event had been concluded while two others had to compete straight from the aircraft,” he added.