Sixty athletes, made up of 40 celebrated powerlfters and 20 new discoveries will represent Nigeria at the forthcoming Lagos 2019 International Para-Powerlifting Championship. The competition will hold at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos from January 24 to 31.
Already, all the athletes are in camp putting finishing touches to their strategies for excelling at the championship in which the country has excelled in recent times.
According to Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation (NPPF) President, Queen Uboh, the Federation and its internationally celebrated athletes are ready to win the championship, which the country is hosting for the first time.
She revealed that the athletes started camping in Lagos on January 3, adding, "so far 10 countries have registered for the competition."
Uboh is enthusiastic about the prospects of Team Nigeria winning most, if not all the medals for the competition. "My people are ready to make Nigeria proud. The other day in camp they were training vigorously and I asked why they were so bent on winning and they said because the world is coming to Nigeria, our soil."
One of the para-powerlifters expected to represent Nigeria is Lucy Ejike, who is listed on the official website of the World Para-Powerlifting as one of the five big stars to watch out for in 2019.
Ejike currently holds the world mark of 142kg, which she set at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She also cleared the bar at 131kg to win gold at the 2018 African Championships.
In June 2018, Nigeria was given the hosting rights after the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) visit to the country to evaluate the country's preparedness to host the event.
Leading the way as the major sponsor of the championship is FrieslandCampina Wamco, makers of Peak milk. Other sponsors are Heritage Bank, Total Nigeria Plc, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), AirFrance, KLM Airline, Ginklat Capsule, and the Lagos State Government.