Team Nigeria’s prospect for medals accumulation at the forthcoming 2012 summer Olympic Games in London has been widened following the qualification two Nigerian female weightlifters, Mariam Usman and Chineye Fidelis for the weightlifting event.
Mariam Usman and Chineye Fidelis set new African and Commonwealth records in the plus 75kg and 53kg weight categories respectively in African Olympic qualifier held in Kenya to give Nigeria two slots for the London Games. The two lifters were the best female lifters in the tournament, while Felix Ekpo won the prize for the best male athlete in the tournament.
According to Nigeriaolympiccommittee.org, Nigeria emerged the overall winner of the event with the country’s athletes winning a total of 19 gold, 18 silver and three bronze medals.
As the best team of the continent in weight lifting, Nigeria grabbed two slots to field any two athletes in the 2012 Olympics Games. This is the maximum number of slots given at continental qualifications.
Fidelis, who broke the record with a lift of 202kg, is now ranked Africa’s finest with a total of 286.1268 points. The 18-year old had an outstanding day as she knocked off both the junior and senior African records with her steady and dominant display which sealed her berth for the London Olympic Games.
The teenager competed at the last years’ World championships in Paris where she came 13th. Usman is second with a total lift of 281kg that earned her 281.1119 points.
Another female star came in the 48kg class where 18 year old Augustina Nwaokolo earned her country another gold with a snatch of 75kg and a lift of 95kg in the Clean and Jerk as she totaled 170kg.
The weightlifting competition at the 2012 Games will include 260 athletes. Each competing nation will be allowed to enter a maximum of 10 competitors, six men and four women.
The 2010 and 2011 World Weightlifting Championships were the main qualifying events for the 2012 Olympic Games. NOCs achieve qualification places according to their position in the joint team classification by points adding those scored in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships.
One continental qualification event is held for each continent in 2012. Only NOCs which have not gained quota places in the Main Qualification Events may obtain quota places.