Nkechi Opara yesterday won Nigeria’s first medal of the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, when she lifted 162 kg in the 48kg category to pick the bronze.
The 18-year-old weightlifter finished third behind Indian duo of Sanjita Khumukcham and Mirabai Chanu Saikhom.
Khumukcham, 20, beat team-mate Saikhom, 19, by 3kg to take gold at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.
Khumukcham’s 173kg total was comprised of a 77kg snatch lift and 96kg clean and jerk.
Another Nigerian lifter, Tanimowo Rasaq led Group A of the men’s 56kg category with a total lift of 225kg in the snatch and clean & jerk.
Meanwhile, Board Member cum Technical Director of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF), Lawrence Iquaibom is one of the referees taking charge of the weightlifting events.
Iquaibom won a Commonwealth Games silver medal for Nigeria at the 1982 edition in Brisbane, New Zealand.
Weightlifting events started yesterday with Nigeria represented by a strong 15-man team.
Iquaibom said before leaving Lagos early this week that he sees the invitation extended to him to officiate at the games as an honour to the country, even as he pledged to do a good job.
“I see my inclusion as one of the technical officials as an honour for Nigeria and I will definitely not disappoint,” Iquaibom said.
He stressed that the Nigerian weightlifting team to the games would also do the country proud in Glasgow, despite the not too solid preparation they had ahead of the games.
“I think our weightlifters will also do well in Glasgow. Their preparation may not have been the best, but they are determined to have a glorious outing as they did last year in Malaysia during the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship in Penang,” Iquaibom said.