• Nigerians dominant as African Weightlifting qualifiers begins

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Mar 30, 2012-

Nigeria’s Fidelis Chinenye African records marked the start of the African Weightlifting Olympic qualifying championships at Nairobi’s Charter Hall, Friday.

Chinenye was undoubtedly in a class of her own, as she snatched 87kg in the women’s Under-53kg, clean and jerked 115 for a total of 202kg and the gold medal.

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 to seal her berth for the London Olympic Games. The teenager competed at the last years' World championships in Paris where she placed 13.

Chinenye’s performance exposed the gap between the fancied Nigerians, the North Africans and the hosts who struggled through their three attempts.

Prisca Mwangi could only manage sixth after twice faulting at her second and third attempts at 50 in the clean and jerk after her opening lift of 45kg.

Mwangi had snatched 45 for a lowly total of 85kg. Majri Oumaima of Tunisia managed to lift 65kg in the clean and Jerk and an impressive 85kg and a combined totals of 150kg for Silver as South African Mjezu Zayanda took bronze after she snatched 63kg and clean and jerked 84kg.

It was Nigeria again all the way in the women’s 48kg as Augustine Nwaokolo earned her country another gold with a snatch of 75kg and a lift of 95kg in the Clean and Jerk as she totalled 170kg.

Kenya’s Lasoi Wairimu just ranked outside the medal bracket finishing fourth after she snatched 35kg, clean and jerked 42kg,totaling 77kg. Natalia Rakoton of Madagascar with a total of 125kg and Sara Sibar of Morocco at 104kg took silver and bronze respectively.

Being a pre-Olympic event some record-breaking lifts are expected through the five day championships which ends on April 3.

The lifters are looking for the Olympic A qualifying marks. Kenya’s main hope for a medal now rests on seasoned lifter Mercy Obiero who has changed her weight category from the last time she competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Wealth Games.

“I have dropped 6kg to 63kg to be more competitive and enhance my chances of not only qualifying for the Olympics but also challenge for a medal in London, “said Obiero, 34, who is back to the weight she was when she competed at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

She ranked fifth at the Games in India, two years ago. She will be competing on Sunday, April 1.



 Evelyn Watta

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