Nigeria's weightlifters are in top shape as Joy Ogbonne Eze rounded off a wonderful performance for Team Nigeria Weightlifters at the just-concluded Egypt 2024 African Senior Weightlifting Championship. She scooped all three gold medals available in the 71kg women's category on Wednesday in Ismaila, Egypt.
Her three gold rush made it 11 medals for Team Nigeria, including a whopping six gold and five silver medals, surpassing last year's performance in Tunisia by miles.
Eze lifted 104 kg in the snatch to win gold and added another gold in the clean and jerk with a lift of 130kg. The weightlifter made it a clean sweep with the third gold with a total lift of 234kg.
Notably, Eze's three gold medals have moved her up to the top 12 in the Olympic qualification ranking in her weight class. Lawal, Olarinoye, and Edidiong are closing in on Olympic Games tickets too with their performance in Ismaila, Egypt. Only the top 10 will make it to the Olympic Games in Paris, France come July this year.
Recall that Rafiat Lawal claimed three gold medals in the 59kg while Adijat Olarinoye bagged three silver medals in the same 59kg. Umoafia Edidiong picked up two silver medals in the Men's 73kg before the crowning glory from Joy Ogbonne Eze, who failed to secure any medal last year in Tunisia due to some technical errors.
The President of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, Dr. Ibrahim Abdul, praised the gallant efforts of the four Weightlifters who all won medals for Nigeria and have boosted their chances of picking Olympic tickets.
He said the weightlifters would return back home to commence preparation for the African Games almost immediately as Nigeria chases a record outing at the championship in Ghana.
"It was a commendable performance from the four Weightlifters. They have done us proud, and we are all glad with what they have achieved in Egypt," Dr. Abdul said.
"We know the lifters are capable of doing more, and we expect them to go full throttle at the African Games with the rest of their colleagues.
"We expect them to give the signal at the African Games before going to Thailand to complete the job.
"We shall proceed to camp almost immediately as they return from Egypt because the African Games is around the corner, and we want to ensure we perform better than we have done in previous editions."
Nigeria's contingent, made up of four weightlifters and four officials, which has three coaches: Janet Ali, Abdulsalam Kayode, and Onubaye Sefiat and a referee: Lawrence Iquaibom, will arrive in Nigeria on Thursday.
Nigeria's weightlifters will participate in another Olympic Games Qualifier next month when the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup holds from March 31st through April 11th in Phuket, Thailand. It is the last qualifier before the Olympic Games.
After the last qualifier, the list of athletes that qualified for the 2024 Paris Games will be made public through the IWF World Rankings.