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14.11.2005 Sports News

Weightlifting Federation gives up on Africa

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William Ezah, GNA Special Correspondent, Doha, Qatar. (Courtesy Black Panther Energy Drink and Fly Emirates)

Doha, Nov 14, GNA - Mr Hanna. President of Weightlifting Federation of Africa (WFA) has said the chances of the continent picking a medal at the on-going 74th Men and 17th Women Weightlifting Championship in Doha, Qatar has been dimmed following the strings of poor results so far recorded.

He told the GNA Sports in Doha, Qatar that he is surprised at the performance of Africa so far, because the continent has for the past years lacked the ingredients to perform at international level. Mr Hanna said with the exception of the North African countries and South Africa, many African countries do not have the right kind of equipment and the technical expertise to come up with quality materials for the sport.

The WFA President said majority of the countries do not have qualified coaches and only rely on street side coaches for their lifters which he said " cannot bring out the best in the lifters".

He added that putting the lifters under the right kind of medication and nutrition has also been a major source of worry to most African countries and wondered when and how lifters from the continent could rub shoulders with their colleagues from other continents especially the advanced countries.

Mr Hanna said the only way out for the continent is the political will and interest to invest capital in the sport since weightlifting requires money and without it, it would be difficult for African countries to make in-roads in the sport.

On what measures the WFA was putting in place to assist in developing the sport on the continent, Mr Hanna said the Federation is at the moment suffering from serious financial difficulties as result of the failure of member countries to pay their dues and attend meetings regularly.

He said of the over 28 members of the association, only a few are regular at meetings and pay their dues while paying special praise for countries like Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon and the North African countries. Mr Hanna said the sport in Africa would have been better developed if the inactive members had been regular at meetings so as to find collective solutions to the numerous problems facing the continent.

He said Africa stands a great chance of making progress in the sport of weightlifting if member countries would be committed to the course of the sport.

Mr Hanna announced that the Federation would however not relent in its efforts to develop the sport but will continue to assist in its own small way to countries ready to commit themselves.

He said in view of this, the Federation will in February next year organise clinics for coaches and referees to update their knowledge of the sport in a bid to effectively promote the sport in the continent. He said the clinic, which will run from February 4-13, is expected to be attended by all member countries and it would be handled by qualified and experienced instructors.

According to Mr Hanna, the ten-day clinic will enhance the techniques of coaches and referees on the continent.

Mr Hanna said the Federation would send early notice to member countries by the close of December and early January to enable them begin preparations. He said the Federation is also aware of the difficult financial situation facing most member countries, hence the decision to send early notification to the participants.

Mr Hanna expressed the hope that member countries would respond adequately to the call and attend the programme without fail to rekindle the spirit of the sport. Africa is yet to pick a medal at the championship, as attempts by Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda among others have fallen on rocks. 14 Nov. 05

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