Nigerian female weightlifter, Mariam Usman, was thursday in Abuja presented the Beijing Olympic Games bronze medal awarded to her following the disqualification of the previous winner due to dope infraction.
Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC) yesterday presented the precious metal to Usman at a brief ceremony at the Abuja Stadium.
Usman originally finished fifth at the Games nine years ago but was upgraded to the third position after the silver and bronze medalists winners were suspended by the IOC for anti-doping rule violations.
Usman is a four-time African champion and reigning gold medalist in her category at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. She also has a bronze medal from the 2011 World Championships in Paris.
The presentation ceremony was attended by the Sports Minister Solomon Dalung, NOC President, Habu Gumel and President of Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, Mohammed Yahaya.
Meanwhile, Nigerian weightlifters are still nursing the ambition of taking part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, despite their inability to compete at the on-going Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships in that country.
The nation’s plan of sending a strong team of weightlifters, made up of Chineye Fidelis, Oluwatoyin Adesanmi, Bilikis Otunla and Mariam Usman, to Australia for the Commonwealth Games trial was not successful due to the inability of the NWF to secure visas for the athletes early.
Secretary General of NWF, Umar Lambu, said yesterday that hopes of Team Nigeria lifters making it to the 2018 Commonwealth Games was not lost yet.
“Nigeria still stand a chance of making it to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The qualification for next year’s Commonwealth Games will be based on countries’ rankings from October 2016 to October 2017.
“At the end of the on-going weightlifting trials in Australia, new rankings will be made, and some countries who could not attend the championship may still qualify through wildcard. So, it is not over for Nigeria as far as participating in the Commonwealth Games is concerned,” concludes the NWF scribe.