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Africa Games: Weightlifting coach confident in athletes’ quality

Andrew Ekenam, Head Coach of Team Nigeria to the 11th All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville in 2015, on Tuesday expressed confidence in the quality of lifters representing the country at the ongoing 12th Games in Rabat, Morocco.

Ekanem told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that most of the athletes were experienced and champions in their designated weight categories in the sport.

NAN reports that Nigeria would feature athletes in the weightlifting event and other sports at the Rabat event, holding from Aug. 19 to Aug. 31.

“We’ve got formidable athletes in the national weightlifting team; they have the experience, exposure and are champions in their competition record; so, I am at home and have high expectations.

“Our lifters performed so well in the last edition that they bought spectators over, and at the end came home with eight gold, 18 silver and nine bronze medals.

“And this time around, the weight categories have been increased by the international body, meaning that our athletes now have more opportunities of winning more medals in Rabat.

“Their preparations were okay; they were supervised by knowledgeable technical officials and the ministry provided them with the necessary support.

“So, the weightlifters will surely deliver and make Nigeria proud,” he said.

The former NWF national coach observed that although the Egyptian weightlifters were good, adding that their Nigerian counterparts to the Games had the physical strength and the wherewithal to excel.

The coach described Nigerian lifters as spectators’ delight at the competition, as they impressed the North African fans at the 2015 edition of the Games.

“I have no doubt that all the countries are prepared for the event, but our spectators will be on the lookout for our lifters, because they thrilled and bought over fans in 2015.

“The opportunity is here again, and they have gone into the Games better prepared and ready to show the world that Nigerian lifters are exceptional and just good,” Ekanem said.

NAN reports that 13 male and females lifters won 35 medals for Nigeria at the 2015 Games in Congo Brazaville. (NAN)

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