By: Gyang Dakwo
Nigeria’s perfect para powerlifting Commonwealth Games record was ended when two of their athletes were disqualified for turning up late for an event won by England’s Zoe Newson.
Tokyo Paralympic champion Latifat Tijani and Onyinyechi Mark were among the favorites to win women’s lightweight gold at Birmingham 2022.
The pair were disqualified after arriving 25 minutes late for the appointed kit check time, although the Nigeria Commonwealth Games Federation protested against the decision; saying they were unaware of the time agreed at a technical meeting in August.
A Birmingham 2022 statement read: “Two athletes from the Nigeria team were disqualified due to non-compliance to Technical Rules 17.1.4 ‘athletes does not present out to the kit check in the scheduled time and/or with a form of identification, they will be disqualified (DSQ)’.
“The two athletes were present at 2.10 pm, 25 minutes late from the scheduled kit check time of 1.45 pm.”
Nigeria Press attache Oluwatoyin Ibitoye said Tijani and Mark had arrived at the NEC venue at 1.55 pm – 65 minutes ahead of the scheduled 3 pm start time and five minutes before what they felt was the cut-off point.
Ibitoye said: “The Federation has appealed because we feel the athletes came in on time.”
“We haven’t seen any messages that we should be here at 1.45 pm and on that basis, we are making a protest”, Ibitoye queried.
“The contest has been won and lost, but it’s important for us to put things on record so next time there has to be better information.”
Nigeria had enjoyed gold medal para powerlifting clean sweeps at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 after the sport was categorized separately from weightlifting