By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Nigeria’s Sports Minister, John Enoh, is poised to take Para-Powerlifting to a new height in Nigerian sports. At a recent meeting of the Presidents of Sports Federations in Abuja, the winsome Sports Minister, Enoh, insisted on having a morale-boosting meeting with the President of Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation, Ichie Chiemeka Charles Ezenwanne on the ways and means of boosting the sport to win many medals for the country at the upcoming Olympic Games.
The Minister made the promise of strong support for Para-Powerlifting Federation of Nigeria while Ezenwanne promised the Minister that the Federation will double the medals’ haul during his tenure.
Ezenwanne who had just come back from Dubai where he led Nigeria’s Para-Powerlifting athletes to yet another triumph at the just concluded 2023 World Para-Powerlifting Championships held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from August 22 to 30 pledged his 100 percent loyalty to the Sports Minister.
The Sports Minister stressed that he is determined to give Para-Powerlifting a better training gym and encouraged Ezenwanne to step up his talent hunt programme.
Enoh congratulated Ezenwanne for doing so well at the Dubai 2023 tournament which is one of the compulsory tournaments to qualify for the 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris, France.
The Nigerian contingent to Dubai won a total of two gold, two silver, and three bronze medals. The winning standard-bearers are: Mark Onyinyechi, 61kg, Gold; Almaruf Kafila, 73kg, Gold; Esther Nworgu, 41kg, Silver; Omolayo Bose, 79kg, Silver; Oluwafemiayo Folashade, 86kg, Bronze; Ezuruike Roland, 54kg, Bronze; and Kure Thomas, 65kg, Bronze.
It’s also noteworthy that Ezenwanne had earlier led Nigeria’s Para-Powerlifters to a tremendous outing at the African Open Para-Powerlifting Championship in Egypt where Team Nigeria won 43 gold, 14 Silver and two bronze medals. There were additional five gold medals won in the women’s team events. The medal hauls put the team at an advantage of qualifying many lifters for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games in France.
After hearing the inspiring words of Sports Minister John Enoh, a revitalized Chiemeka Ezenwanne went to see the patron of Para-Powerlifting Federation of Nigeria, Senator Osita Izunaso who had from the beginning been his great supporter and pillar. Ezenwanne presented the Southeast Para-Sports Award to Senator Izunaso as the Father of Para-Sports in the Southeast. He also presented a congratulatory message from the Para-Powerlifting Federation to Izunaso on his victory at the poll to represent Imo West Senatorial Zone in the National Assembly.
With Ezenwanne as the leader of Nigeria’s Para-Powerlifters, and astutely backed by Sports Minister John Enoh and the patron, Senator Osita Izunaso, Para-Powerlifting is well poised to win for Nigeria many more medals in the years ahead.